We like to think that our elderflower drinks are a taste of the English summer in a glass. The delicate scent of elderflowers is as quintessentially English as tea parties and village fetes and, in the countryside, it’s often said that summer has only really arrived when the elderflowers start appearing in the hedgerows at the beginning of June.
Here at Belvoir Fruit Farms in Lincolnshire, we have 90 acres of our own organic elderflower plantations. That’s an awful lot of flowers to be picked during the harvest in June, so we’re glad that the lovely local villagers all lend a hand. During elderflower season, we also ask the villagers to go out and pick elderflowers from the hedgerows which we pay them for, so making our cordials is a great community effort.
Once the harvest is in, the flowers are then infused by Phyllis Howitt, the former shepherdess who has been single-handedly making our cordials for over 20 years, in vats of lemon and sugar syrup.
Elderflowers have long been used as a herbal remedy. Traditionally, infusions of elderflower were used to ward off colds, sore throats and hayfever, and herbalists still use elderflower leaves to treat sprains and bruises, and the berries to treat rheumatism. For more information on Elderflower folklore, click here.
Keep an eye on our blog throughout the year, or sign up to our newsletter, for information on growing your own elderflowers, and have a look at our recipes page for some ideas of other lovely things you can make from them – aside from cordial, that is!