26 June 2014
Makes about 21/2 to 3 litres
20 meadowsweet heads
1.6 kg sugar
1.6 l water
60g citric acid
2 whole lemons (organic), sliced
Picking the flowers: You need to pick the flowers on a dry day, either in the morning or in the evening, not in the heat of the day, and only pick flower heads with the blossoms fully open. You need to use the blossoms within 3 to 4 hours of picking to make the most of their aroma.
Making the syrup: Combine the sugar, water, citric acid and lemon slices in a large saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. If you are using the syrup right away, let it cool to lukewarm before adding the blossoms. (Adding the blossoms while the syrup is hotter than lukewarm results in boiled vegetable overtones in your syrup). If you are using the syrup later, once you have returned with your blossoms, reheat it to lukewarm again before infusing the flower heads.
Infusing: Before infusing the blossoms in the lukewarm syrup, pick over the flowers to remove any beetles, bugs and brown bits. Also remove any leaves and cut off as much off the stalks as you can. Then plunge your blossoms into the lukewarm syrup, stir to ensure that all of the blossoms are in contact with the syrup, cover and leave to infuse for 24 to 48 hours.
Bottling: Strain the syrup through a very fine sieve and/or a piece of muslin, discarding the blossoms and lemon slices. Return the strained syrup to the saucepan (rinse it out first to ensure there are no bits left in it) and heat the syrup to boiling point. Remove from the heat, pour into sterilised bottles and seal. Stored in a cool, dark place your meadowsweet syrup will keep for several months.