Food, wine, travel, music
Elderberries come after elderflowers have lost their creamy blooms and given us the makings of delicious cordial, and can be found now in hedgerows. The bunches of tiny round berries have the same flat shape as when the flowers are in bloom, so there is no mistaking them. Once they go from green to red to black they are ready to be picked. It takes a lot of elderberries to make a few pots of jam or jelly and it needs to be strained/sieved as the pips and skins are tough. This year I cooked them with sugar and about a third of cooking apples which helped the jelly set. Allow 2 tablespoons sugar to 500g elderberries and two cooking apples. Stew for as long as it takes to cook the apples – about 5 mins. Strain (there are lots of seeds and tough skins) and see if the mixture is sticky as it cools. If it isn’t, boil it up until a track stays when you run your finger across a wooden spoon dipped in it. Pour into sterilised jars as usual, or freeze. Good with meats, as well as on toast and crusty bread.