A few weeks ago M and I had a fun day learning about Belvoir Fruit Farms, Elderflower and making delicious Madeleine Hot Air Balloons. With the increased popularity of Elderflower Pressé we heard how pickers are needed to help harvest the crop. If you fancy having a go, and being paid for it, there are more details below…
Elderflower Pickers Urgently Needed…
Belvoir Fruit Farms have been making elderflower cordials and pressés for over 30 years in the Vale of Belvoir. A family owned and run business they use only the best natural ingredients and no preservatives or additives. The business has grown from 500 bottles in 1984 to its 20 millionth bottle by the end of 2014!
The picking season lasts for five to six weeks, starting around the end of May. With over 60 tonnes (3.6 million flowerheads) needed to keep up with the demand for this drink, Belvoir Fruit Farms are urgently calling for elderflower pickers from Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Cambridge to help harvest the flowers. There are four weighing stations open where flowers are accepted and Belvoir pays £2.10 per kilo (experienced pickers can harvest up to 45 kilos in one day!) and there is also a special prize for Belvoir’s Biggest Bagger!
For more information on locations visit www.belvoirfruitfarms.co.uk/elderflower/ or call 01476 870286
Marking the arrival of summer, Elderflower is an ancient hedgerow plant often associated with magic of fairies and folklore.
A few fun Elder myths:
- The Elder was regarded as sacred, protected by the Elder mother living in its trunk. Country people would not cut or burn the wood for fear of upsetting the Elder Mother.
- Thought of as a protective tree, growing it outside your door was/is believed to keep evil spirits from entering the house
- It is said that to see the fairies, you must stand under the elder tree on Midsummer Eve- but, if you fall asleep the fairies will carry you off!
- Folklore says that if you stand under an Elder, you will not be struck by lightening because it is said to be the tree from which Christ’s cross was made
- Flutes made from Elder were used to summon spirits and was the common wood for wands
And some medicinal properties of Elder:
- Every part of the Elder has been used in domestic medicine since the days of Hippocrates
- Medieval herbalists used the roots as a diuretic, the bark to hasten labour and the leaves and berries to treat piles
- Brewed elder bark soothes pain and replenishes energy for mothers after child birth
- it is thought to combat hay fever
Homemade Elderflower Cordial Recipe:
Serves: 1 litre
- 10 large elderflower heads (in full bloom, scented & avoid brown edging) rinsed gently
- 800g granulated sugar
- 25g tartaric acid
- 1 sliced lemon
- 1 litre cooled boiled water
- Mix together the water, sugar, tartaric acid and lemon in a large bowl
- Submerge the elderflower heads into the liquid and leave for 24 hours stirring every so often to help the sugar dissolve
- Strain the liquid into a 1 litre bottle
- Drink immediately with still or sparkling water (or even better champagne or prosecco)
- Store in a cool, dark place for a few days
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