Monday, 29 May 2017

Our 10 Reasons for Homesteading

There's a really lovely, thriving and supportive network of folks who are smallholders and homesteaders (the American name for smallholding) that I've bumped into via social media. While I've known this about Twitter and Facebook for a while, I didn't know until recently that a similar network existed via YouTube.

Anyway, one of this network had a fabulous idea for a collaborative challenge whereby vloggers are invited to make a video about a particular subject. This one is about our reasons for choosing to be smallholders.

As usual, if you can't play the video on screen, you can watch it on YouTube here.

Elderflower Cordial Recipe

I'm making elderflower cordial again because it's that time of year and our tree is heavy with blossom.

Last year I watched several 'how to' videos about making elderflower cordial and all of them baffled me in one way or another. Mostly because they all talked about keeping out of the mixture anything that may make it taste bitter and then they promptly included the very things they said to avoid! So this recipe is the one I've used taking elements of several other recipes that I've read and seen.

Elderflower Cordial

25 to 30 heads of elderflowers, collected on a warm or hot day when the flowers are fully open (beware - the pollen may get all over your clothes!)
1kg unrefined sugar (caster or granulated)
1ltr water just off the boil
1/2 ltr cold water
50g citric acid
One unwaxed lemon

Prepare the flowers by shaking them gently to remove any insects, check them over and remove any brown bits and unopened flower buds. Remove the flowers from the stems using a fork, pick out as many of the flower stalks as possible, leaving just the tiny, fragrant flowers. 

Put the sugar into a large glass or earthenware bowl and add the hot water, stir using a wooden spoon to help dissolve the sugar, then add the cold water to help cool the mixture. 

Add the citric acid and finely grated zest of one lemon and stir in gently.

Remove all the pith and cut the ends from the lemon and discard. Then slice the fruit and add it to the mixture. 

Add the elderflowers and stir gently again ensuring all the flowers are moistened. Cover and leave to 'steep' or 'mash' for 24 hours.

The next day, strain the mixture through a fine muslin cloth to remove all the flowers and lemon from the cordial and bottle and keep in the fridge or freeze.

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