Best time to pick: Mid-June
Time of preparation: 3 days
Watch out for: flowers that lookalike but are not elderflower and are poisonous. Don't pluck elderflower with red berries nor red anthers. The marrow of the twig should be light, not dark. And if you pluck a branch it should be standing straight while you hold it upside down. Also: does it smell like elderflower? Elderflower tends to smell sweet, especially when it's in season.
Making elderflower juice is such a fun summer activity to do with the kids, as it not only lets them learn about nature, but also let's them create something from scratch, and teaches them a dose of patience (as it takes a couple days before the juice is ready).
Making elderflower juice is a:
Fun outdoors summer activity
Educational for kids (teaches adding different ingredients, the concept of process and progress and teaches your kids about the elderflower plant.)
Family bonding activity that lasts at least 3 to 4 days
Day 1 - collect the ingredients On day 1, pick a basket and go for an elderflower themed scavenger hunt! Make sure to pluck on a higher spot, and also with a tree that's far away from any pollution factors. The elderflowers you see on the image, were plucked on a small island without cars, so imagine how fresh this bunch was! You can also take the opportunity to teach your children that there are poisonous plants and non-poisonous plants and to learn to differentiate them (for elderflowers we just listed how to differentiate lookalikes and real elderflower in the first paragraph). So, when you have pluck a good bunch of elderflowers, it's time for a run to the supermarket and buy a couple organic lemons and citric acid. 🍋 If you have sugar at home, then your ingredient list is complete: A basket of elderflowers, 3 to 4 organic lemons, citric acid and sugar. Yay, now you can start!
Day 2 - add the ingredients together
Wash the elderflower, cut all the organic lemons in bigger slices and fill a big pot (the biggest you own) half-full with water. Next, add on the elderflower, the organic lemons and a tad of citric acid (not the entire bottle, just a bit, according to your taste) and let the water boil for a while.
After having boiled the brew, move the big pot to a cold place (such as a basement), and put a lid over it and let it stand for at least 48 hours.
Day 3 - prepare your own bottles (including DYI labels).
Collect some glass bottles with your children and make it into a fun crafting activity, where you will create your own elderflower labels with either some pieces of paper or stickers. Add on the date, your names and be creative with the name you give your own brew.
Day 4 - extract the juice
Take the pot out of your basement and use a sieve to get a clear liquid and boil this remaining liquid together with a couple spoons of sugar (your choice how sweet you want to make this - take into account that you will dilate the elderflower juice with water.). After that, let the brew cool down and poor it into the bottles that you prepared on day 3.
Ready!! Whohoo you now have brewed your own elderflower juice! Enjoy it or share with family and friends throughout the summer! 🌸 🌼 🌸