But if you happen to have gone elderberrying (why yes, that is a word, thank you) and now have a tupperware filled with little black gems taking up valuable space in your teeny weeny freezer (remember, you turned the big freezer off ages ago), I can recommend making some elderberry rob.
Remember a couple of weeks ago I posted about going to the Weald and Downland autumn fair and admiring the medicinal stuff from the garden? Well I've been meaning to make elderberry rob since then, so yesterday I searched a few recipes, and then
ignored them all and made it up as I went along formed a careful amalgamation of all the information I found. By the way, elderberry rob is basically a spiced elderberry syrup that can be taken to prevent/help cure colds, coughs and other minor ailments.
Incidentally, elderberries are bloody good for you. According the various sites I found, they:
1. Have immune boosting properties
2. Are antioxidants
3. Improve heart health
4. Lower cholestoral
5. Improve vision
6. Have lots of vitamin C in
7. Contain potassium (I think this is a good thing, although I seem to recall a potassium experiment at school that resulted in scary flames...)
So, it's basically marvellous. Here's my recipe:
Elderberry rob with a ginger kick
Granulated sugar (or whatever sugar is kicking around)
Ground ginger (you could probably use whole ginger and whole cinnamon)
1. Put your elderberries in a big pan, just cover with water, put the lid on (saves energy!) and simmer for 30 mins, stirring occasionally.
2. Strain the liquid through a muslin. I expect that if you were very committed you could strain it overnight through a jelly seive, but I was too impatient
3. Bin the berries, measure the remaining liquid and pour it into a clean pan. Give the jug a quick wash and sterilise it (or a funnel) and some bottles. See here for more information on sterilising.
4. To every pint of liquid add 8oz of sugar, 2 tsp of ground ginger, 1tsp of ground cinnamon and about 20 cloves.
5. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 20 mins or so, until the mixture has thickened into a syrup.
6. Fish out the cloves (or strain it, if you're feeling clever) and pour into bottles, using the sterilised jug/funnel.
To drink, either have a tablespoonful straight from the bottle or dilute in a little warm water and sip. It's nice and gingery! I don't think this would keep for aaaages - probably a month. On my internet trawls I read various things about using alcohol as a preservative to make it last longer, but to be honest if you have a sensible sized freezer you could make up a batch every now and again.