Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Hawthorn Blossom Syrup

The blossoms are in full bloom on the Hawthorns at the moment. I have read an account of people eating the new leaf shoots in sandwiches, in bread and butter, or in salads. I have tried them straight off the tree and I don't think they are much to shout about to be honest...

Then I found a recipe using the blossoms, an 18th century recipe that was published in E. Smith's The Compleat Housewife originally. They are long winded instructions about gallypots, thank fully the book I found it mentioned in simplified matters for me, a little bit.

I picked a carrier bag full of lovely white blossoms. You will need about 1 litre of blossoms. Gently snip the flowers from the stalks and pack them loosely into into jars in layers about 2.5cm deep. Sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar between each layer of flowers, until the jars are full.

Then heat 800g sugar with 1.25litres of water and 7 tablespoons of lemon juice in a pan, bring it to the boil for 3 minutes, then set aside to cool. Pour the cooled syrup into the jar with the flowers and put the lids on loosely. Stand the jars in a big pan on top of a few sheets of folded newspaper, with some newspaper between the jars so they don't touch. Then fill up the pan with cold water, bring to the boil slowly and simmer very gently for 1 hour.

Finally lift out the jars and tighten the lids. When everything is stone cold open the jars and strain the flowers out of the syrup through a cloth and seal into sterilsied jars or bottles. Keep it somewhere cool and it will keep for months.

It's a delicious apricot coloured syrup, serve with soda, ice and a squeeze of lemon, with a few flowers scattered on top... It's good with gin and tonic! or drizzled over panna cotta or ice cream...

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Happy cooking! Let me know if you make any of my recipes, send a picture, and let me know any of your own recipes and tips! Anna x