Elderberries gathered on St. John’s eve were traditionally thought to protect the possessor against witchcraft and also to bestow magical powers. While the Romans used the juice as hair dye, the cordial has long been for coughs and colds as elderberries contain vyburnic acid, which induces perspiration and is especially useful in bronchitis and other chest problems. So what better way of using them than in hedgerow vinegar to have with your winter salads or diluted in hot water.
Elderberry Hedgerow Vinegar
Ingredients – 1 good bowlful of hedgerow fruit eg elderberries, blackberries, sloes or hawthorn
Cider vinegar, enough to generously cover the fruit
Put fruit in a bowl & crush lightly with a wooden spoon. Add the vinegar. Cover the bowl and leave for 4-5 days, stirring / crushing occasionally.
Pour the fruit & vinegar into a jelly bag or muslin over a sieve. Leave to drain overnight – you can squeeze it a little if you like, but not too vigorously or it goes cloudy.
Measure the liquid into a saucepan. For every 600ml fruit vinegar, add about 300g sugar (but adapt to your taste)
4.Bring to the boil gently stirring until sugar has dissolved. Boil for 10 minutes, removing any scum.
Cool then bottle & seal when cool. Use within 12 months.