The elderberry bush, or sambuco as it is called in Italy, is an indigenous plant that grows spontaneously all over the country, but it is not very well known. Elderflower syrup is used mostly in central and northern European countries, while in Italy, sambuco is more commonly associated with the distinctive anise flavour of Sambuco liqueur.
The famous liqueur gets its name from the elderberry bush or Sambucus Nigra, which is one of the ingredients, even if it is not the main one.
WHERE DOES IT GROW?
- Close to water
- On riverbanks
- In damp forests
WHEN TO HARVEST
Elderflowers can be picked between the middle and end of May in Tuscany and the beginning of summer in colder areas.
You will recognise the elderberry bush by its delicate, circular white flowers. The plant can reach as high as 8 meters.
USES IN THE KITCHEN
Elderflowers are mostly used to make elderberry syrup.
It makes an exquisite drink with water and ice or in the famous Hugo cocktail, with a sprig of mint and white wine.
There are many different recipes for Elderflower Syrup but this is the easiest and most delicious one. It makes one litre of syrup.
WHAT YOU NEED for 1 litre of syrup (simply double the ingredients for 2 litres)
- You will need about 15 elderflowers
- One litre of water
- 1 Lemon
- 1 kg of sugar
- 30 g citric acid
WHAT TO DO
Firstly, cut the lemon into pieces. Pour water into a jar, add the chopped lemon and the elderflowers. Close the jar and leave to soak for at least 4 hours. Add the sugar and citric acid and mix well until the sugar is dissolved. Leave for 24 hours in a cool place. Strain into a bottle and store the syrup in the refrigerator.