Our Elder tree is in full flower now. It is such a generous & versatile tree, the leaves can be used as an insect repellant, the creamy umbels of flowers can be used as an addition to various ointments & cosmetics, we can also make Elderflower cordial, Champagne & wine, Elderflower fritters, & then we can use the berries in cooking, wines & soothing winter cordials. we are working on a new range of shaving products for men, which will use Elderflowers as skin softeners in shaving soaps, & as an aftershave balm. At the moment Geoff is growing a mo for Movember, so he can try them out at the end of the month. I hadn’t realised just how anti-social a bristly mo can be! It’s for a good cause tho, prostate cancer has been an un-acknowledged problem for too long. You can find info about Movember if you do a google search.

Elder Flowers

Feb ’08The berries on our tree are just ripening, we’re picking them & cleaning off the stems with a fork. We’ll freeze these & use them later to make Elderberry & Blackberry Rob, a great Winter drink. Don’t be tempted to eat them raw, they’ll give you the squits! We’ve hung old CDs & plastic bags in the branches to try & keep the birds away. If we get enough berries I’ll put the Rob recipe on later.BLACKBERRY & ELDERBERRY ROB:This is a great hot drink for winter evenings, especially if you have a bit of a cold or sore throat.  The original recipe uses white wine vinegar, but we prefer cider vinegar.Pour 1 pint (600ml) of vinegar over 2 pints (1200ml) of ripe blackberries, & elderberries if you have them, in an earthenware or glass container.  Leave standing in a warm place for a week.  Stir each day and crush the berries against the sides of the container.  Strain off the liquid at the end of this time and add 1lb (450gm) sugar and ½ lb (225gm) of honey, & a large piece of grated green ginger.  Bring to the boil, then cool and bottle.  Store in a dark place.  Use 1 tblsp of cordial in a cup of hot water.We try to keep a few plants of Elder in our little shadehouse, they are $5.00 each, but at this stage you’d need to pick up from here. If you want a plant email Millstream@xtra.co.nz or give us a ring 06 87 81511

Elder Sambucus nigra