Easy Elderflower Vinegar recipe
This recipe for Elderflower Vinegar is incredibly easy. In essence, you just have to combine fresh elderflowers with a light vinegar and leave for two weeks for the flavour to develop. At the end of this time, your vinegar will have the delicious floral scent of elderflowers and will keep indefinitely.
What you need to know about Elderflower Vinegar
- The time to make this vinegar is in late spring or early summer when the elderflowers are in bloom. When you start to look for them, you will see them everywhere in hedges in May and June. The elderflower heads consist of hundreds of small creamy-white flowers and have a distinctive elderflower aroma.
- These are the key points to remember when you are picking your elderflowers. They are best picked on a sunny day as the flavour will be stronger. Choose elderflower heads where the flowers are fully open but which have not yet started to turn brown. As with all foraged food, you need to make sure that the flowers that you are gathering have not been treated with any chemicals.
- There are two views regarding preparation of elderflowers for use in cordial, gin or vinegar. The first is that you should not wash the elderflowers as this will impact the flavour and you should just shake the flowers and pick through them to remove any insects. The second is that the blooms need to be washed to remove the bugs, and any dirt, regardless of any reduction in flavour. I tend towards the “no-wash” view when making flavoured vinegar, which is strained and has antiseptic properties, but the choice is yours.
- You can choose any kind of good quality light vinegar to make this recipe. I generally use either white wine vinegar or cider vinegar. However, you can also use rice vinegar. Malt vinegar is too harsh and is not suitable for this recipe.
- Although it is a matter of minutes to combine the elderflowers with the vinegar, you need to allow two weeks for the flavour to develop. During that time, keep the jar at room temperature, shake it occasionally to ensure the ingredients are combined. If any of the elderflowers are not covered by the vinegar, push them under the surface.
Uses for Elderflower Vinegar
Elderflower Vinegar can be used as a substitute for non-flavoured vinegar in recipes where its distinctive floral aroma will enhance the taste of the finished dish. I use it in two main ways but I am sure there are lots of others and I would love to hear from anyone who has used it in other ways.
- I use Elderflower Vinegar is to make a simple vinaigrette salad dressing. Put 50 ml of vinegar and 150 ml of olive oil in a jar together with a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of honey. Close the lid on the jar and shake it for a couple of minutes to combine all the ingredients. I generally use the vinaigrette with salads that contain fruit especially strawberries or melon. Simply combine some green salad leaves, some sliced strawberries or melon and maybe a few cubs of feta and add the dressing.
- Sprinkling balsamic vinegar onto fresh strawberries is an excellent way of bringing out their flavour. I think using sweetened Elderflower Vinegar is better. I mix 50 ml of vinegar with two teaspoons of honey or sugar and then sprinkle it over the strawberries. You can either eat right away or leave for half an hour so that the vinegar will draw out the delicious strawberry juices.
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Other Elderflower Recipes
I am a big fan of elderflower and love its distinctive floral flavour. I have lots of recipes, some using fresh elderflowers and some which can be made with shop-bought elderflower cordial.
- Fresh Elderflower Cordial – very easy to make with fresh elderflowers and can be diluted as a drink and also used as a flavouring in other recipes.
- Home-made Elderflower Gin – very easy to make with fresh elderflowers and great drunk on its own or as the basis for floral cocktails.
- Elderflower Cupcakes – quick and easy and can be made using shop-bought cordial.
- Simple Elderflower Ice Cream – delicious floral ice cream which can be made using shop-bought elderflower cordial.
- Elderflower and Gooseberry Sorbet – a refreshing floral sorbet that celebrates the brilliant flavour match of elderflower and gooseberry.
- Elderflower Pannacotta – light and creamy summer dessert,
This easy Elderflower Vinegar is a fantastic way of capturing the floral flavour of fresh elderflowers. Use it in dressings and as a condiment in sweet and savoury dishes.
- 500 ml (17 fluid oz) vinegar (eg white wine, cider or rice wine vinegar)
- 4 heads of fresh elderflower
- Check that the elderflowers are free from insects. You can wash your elderflowers if you wish. However, to ensure a stronger flavour, it is better not to wash them.
- Put the elderflowers into a jam jar and cover with the vinegar. You may need to push them down a bit to ensure that they are completely covered by the vinegar.
- Cover the jar with a lid and leave for two weeks for the vinegar to mature at room temperature. Check every day or so to ensure that the flowers are still covered by the vinegar.
- After two weeks, strain the vinegar to remove the elderflowers. The easiest way to do this is to pour it through a sieve lined with a piece of clean muslin.
- The flavoured vinegar will keep indefinitely in a lidded jar or bottle.
You can easily increase the quantities in this recipe. The ratio is 4 elderflower heads for each 500 ml of vinegar
Keywords: vinegar, elderflower
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