Rachel Manley, our resident food blogger and brunch hostess, gives a guide to finding elderflowers in Brixton – and tells us what to do with them once we’ve got them
Where to find elderflowers in Brixton
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been getting excited about elderflower season since about February and the unseasonably good weather has only spurred me on. After an ill-fated trip to find some on Hampstead Heath (I knew I shouldn’t have ventured north of the river), I feel like I can’t move now for spotting the fuzzy white flowers all over Brixton.
If you’re planning on knocking up a batch, here’s where I’ve spotted some prime elderflowers (NB: some of them are in people’s front gardens, so it’s only polite to knock and ask permission before plundering their trees).
Brixton Rd, roughly opposite the petrol station
St Matthew’s Rd, Effra Rd side
Chaucer Rd, Dulwich Rd side
Brockwell Park – I spotted them at the Brixton Water Lane entrance and then behind the Lido. I’m sure there are plenty more in the park.
Wyck Gardens, off Loughborough Road (a recommendation from @northsouthfood)
Spotted more? Share the knowledge in the comments.
What to do with the elderflowers?
You’ll need about 20-30 ‘heads’ to make cordial, plenty of sugar, lemons and some citric acid (I bought mine in Nour Cash and Carry, but you can probably find it with the spices in most of the shops in Brixton Market). Oh, and you can get muslin (to strain the cordial through) in one of the many fabric shops in Brixton for next to nothing.
I like this recipe but I leave it to steep for a good 48 hours. The finished cordial will keep for 3-4 months in the fridge.
You can also try making elderflower champagne, but I prefer to add the cordial to cheap fizz for a yummy cocktail. It’s also deliciously refreshing mixed with sparkling water, slices of cucumber and mint, maybe with a splash of gin too?
On Branksome Road close to Lambert Road there’s a tree hanging over from a back garden, scenting the whole road of a warm evening. What’s the etiquette when it comes to pinching from back gardens?
Rachel reckons knock first and ask politely…especially if they don’t seem to be using them themselves?!
Thanks – I’ll look out for them. I thought my neighbour had some in his back garden but I have just checked and the flowers and leaves are not quite the same. I’ll try the recipe if I find any.
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