This year is a funny one for elderflowers in this neck of the woods, we had an early warm spring and the elderflowers burst into bloom very early, then a cold spell that seemed to confuse them, so they went semi-dormant, and now warm again, reviving the interrupted flowering season. so i've been picking them for over a month and they are still coming out. i have already made cordial (sugary syrup to dilute for a refreshing drink or to mix with wine, fruit and sparkling water), started a liqueur, and have now started a wine. but the reason for the post is the cool idea i saw in this article in the guardian
the recipe itself is not so amazing, being aimed at the beginner, but the strategy is clever, 'fork off' the flowers and mix them with the sugar, and leave it for a few hours. i didn't think the sugar would be able to extract much moisture from the flowers but it works a treat, within an hour the sugar was clumping around the flowers and the heady elderflower aroma was intoxicating, filling my kitchen. now i will follow more of an advanced-level country wine recipe than this one, but the article is nice and i recommend this strategy.
finally, this article is one of an ongoing series called homebrew from the hedgerow, some interesting ideas