The gift of food is the best gift anyone can give – well in my eyes anyway. We try to keep our consuming of material stuff minimal around here but when it comes to food we don’t hold back often. If it is locally grown or produced I am happy to pay a higher price. Within reason of-course. And being a lover of real food I often find myself with a box of excess fruit on the doorstep. Dropped off by a kind friend with more backyard garden goodness they can handle. This week it is a huge box of lemons that are disappearing as quickly as they arrived. The lemons that survive to the weekend will become jars of preserved lemons [follow this link to learn how] for Christmas gifts.
But the ultimate gift when it comes to food offerings is a fruit tree. A fruit producing tree is food for many years to come. And they just get bigger and produce more fruit every year [for a while anyway]. Luckily we have a large quarter acre section because fruit tree presents seems to be a common theme from our friends and family. One tree that has taken a while to shine is an elderflower given to us when our daughter was born almost 5 years ago. It was planted in a shady-ish space in the garden as directed, and we were told it could take a few years to come into fruition. It was almost pulled out because it appeared to be a fruitless plant, much to my husbands frustration when I said it is an elderflower and must not go!
Luckily this year it has flowered with gusto or I would fear for its life just like my raspberries that mysteriously disappeared one energetic ‘weeding’ session. Our house has been full with the scent of elderflower dehydrating for infusing into tea and adding to my ever-growing kombucha crock. I considered a brew of elderflower champagne, although the crop yield wasn’t quite enough. Instead a moment of inspiration hit as I wandered the farmers market recently and was offered an ice block stick dipped in cinnamon infused honey. Aha, the perfect use for those extra elderflower heads ready to harvest but not quite enough to make a brew of champagne [that will be for next year]. The recipe below could be used for all manner of infusion flavours, including, but not limited too:
lavender / rose petals / cinnamon quills / vanilla / lemon zest / orange blossoms [ours are in bloom now and I have been tempted] – if you have made infused honey please comment below with your flavour successes.
This infused honey has the most gorgeous flavour - subtly floral with a zesty undertone. If you have access to loads of elderflower heads this would make wonderful Christmas gifts or another infused honey. To eat; drizzle over pancakes or waffles, OR make into a quick lemonade on a hot day - In a jug combine ice cubes, water, freshly squeezed lemon and elderflower honey to taste. Oh la la I am looking forward to this in the coming months.
elderflower heads, enough to lightly pack the jar
about 200ml local raw honey - I used Mountain Valley Autumn Gold Honey [available from the Nelson Market]
time - about 1 week to infuse
small sieve or strainer
- Collect the flower heads, snipping off the stalks, and pack gently into the jar. Pour the honey over the elderflower heads until it comes to top of the jar. Cover lightly with cheesecloth or beeswax coated fabric* and sit on a window sill to infuse for about a week.
- Strain the honey through a small sieve into a new jar. Use within a few months or the flavour starts to disappear.
I used Honey Wrap reusable beeswax food wrap, available HERE.