Elderflower jelly is the lightest, most delicately floral of sweet preserves that will make your toast sing in the morning and there are so many other great uses for this fabulously foraged jelly too….
What’s to love about this recipe?
- You can’t buy elderflower jelly in the shops so that makes it really rather special
- Making jelly is easy, you just have to have a bit of patience to let it drip overnight
- This elderflower jelly is super versatile and can be used in both sweet and savoury ways – read on…
- Foraging is a great way of using what nature has provided around us
Check out the bottom of this post for more great elderflower recipes too
Elder trees are incredibly common across the UK from parkland to the countryside they are everywhere. The leaves comprise 5-7 oval leaflets with feathery edges that form umbrels of creamy white tiny flowers. Elderflowers bloom from May till July and sometimes even August and have the most amazing floral scent.
You might know the elder tree by one of these other names, such as Black Elder, Ellhorn, Pipe tree, Bore tree, Eller and Holler.
These beautiful trees have many associations within folklore, for example, it was once believed that if you fell asleep under an elder in full bloom, you would be invited into the world of the fairies and be protected from evil spirits. It was also believed that if you chopped down an elder tree it would be replaced by a witch!
Elderflowers have been used for thousands of years for their medicinal and healing properties.
Elderflowers have both anti-septic and anti-inflammatory effects, so country folk have been using them in home-remedies for centuries. A mix of elderflower and water can be used to alleviate symptoms of anything from the common cold to some forms of arthritis.
The complete list of ingredients and full instructions for making this recipe can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
The rules of foraging
- Seek permission before foraging. In certain areas, plant species will be protected so it is important to do some research and check with the landowner before you start gathering.
- Don’t pick elderflowers from the edge of a busy road as the flowers will be full of pollution from traffic.
- Only pick from areas that have a plentiful supply. Look for areas where you can find food in abundance and then only collect a small amount for personal use. Never completely strip an area as this could damage the species and deny another forager the chance to collect.
- Leave enough for wildlife and avoid damaging habitats. Many animals rely on plants for survival, so never take more than you plan to eat as this could also deny wildlife from a valuable food source. Be mindful about wildlife habitats and avoid disturbing or damaging.
Elderflowers of course. Please read my notes on foraging below.
The other ingredients you’ll need to make elderflower jelly are apples (they contain lots of lovely pectin to make your elderflower jelly set nicely).
Sugar and lemon juice are your only other ingredients for this elderflower jelly recipe.
First, make sure your elderflowers are clean and dust/insect-free by giving them a jolly good shake over the sink. Now make sure you don’t have a lot of stem in there. The tiny thin stems of the flowers are just fine but you don’t want any think stems.
Chop the apples and keep this easy by just leaving the peel on and the core inside. Chuck these into a large pan and throw in the elderflowers and enough water just to cover everything.
Bring to the boil and then let the elderflowers and apples simmer till the apples are soft. Now squish everything down with a potato masher.
The French method for making the very best elderflower jelly – Pop on a lid and leave this mash to infuse preferably overnight. This will really let the delicate flavour of the elderflowers infuse into the pulp for the strongest flavour in your elderflower jelly.
Then use a jelly bag (or basically just a large sieve lined with muslin over a bowl to catch the juice) for at least 4 hours, though I leave mine overnight, after all, what’s the rush.
The ratio of sugar/lemon to juice
For every 550ml (about a pint) of juice, you get add 450g of sugar and the juice of 3 lemons. Just work out this ration for the amount of juice you get after the mush has dripped through.
Do NOT under any circumstances squeeze the jelly bag or press down on the pulp in the sieve when it’s finished dripping in the hopes of getting more juice. This will result in one thing only – a cloudy jelly!
Boil your jelly till it reaches the setting point (see notes on jelly below) and skim off any froth on top. Carefully ladle into sterilised jars.
New to preserving? Then don’t panic, I can take you from zero to hero in no time at all.
Just check out these handy articles to get you heading in the right direction fast;
How much jelly does this make?
I got 6 x 200ml jars of gorgeously golden elderflower jelly from this recipe. Enough for the family and to give as gifts to friends.
How long does this keep?
Your elderflower jelly will keep for up to a year in a cool cupboard. Once opened, store it in the fridge and use within a month or so.
Now don’t just think of this elderflower jelly as something to slather on your toast in the morning, oh no, this delicious preserve has many more uses my friends;
Use your elderflower jelly as a glaze when roasting a chicken or to glaze carrots for roasting too.
My friend Jacquie swears by this elderflower jelly spread on spicy smoked mackerel on toast. I’ve tried it and have to say it’s amazing!
Use some elderflower jelly in Asian inspired recipes for a bit of sweetness instead of honey.
Add some elderflower jelly to your cheeseboard or sharing platter for something just a little bit different.
Of course, elderflower jelly is just amazing spread inside a Victoria sponge or loosened with a little water and used as a drizzle on plain cakes.
You can also use this as a simple topping for a fruit salad or ice-cream too.
Looking for more fabulous elderflower recipes to try? Then check these out before you go
For more great foraging recipes check out my foraging section where you’ll be able to make the most of the countryside.
Finally, if you do try this recipe don’t forget to leave a comment/star rating below as I just love to hear from readers. Want more Larder Love? Then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and sign up for my newsletter too of course.
- 20 elderflowers the full heads of elderflower
- 1 kg apples any apples will do
- 450 g sugar
- 3 lemons juice only
- Remove all debris and dust from elderflowers and snip off thicker stems
- roughly chop apples, no need to peel or core them as those bits contain lots of pectin
- Place elderflowers and apples in a pan and cover with water, boil then simmer till apples softened (about 15 minutes)
- Mash into a pulp with a potato masher and pop on the lid, remove from cooker and leave to infuse (preferably overnight)
- Put pulp into a jelly bag (or a sieve lined with muslin over a bowl) and let it drip, again preferably overnight
- For every 550ml of juice (about a pint) use 450g sugar and the juice of 3 lemons
- Heat everything gently till sugar dissolves then boil till it reaches setting point removing any scum that forms on top. Try not to stir the jelly as it is cooking
- Ladle the elderflower jelly into sterilised jars