After visiting an old dear friend of mine one spring morning we were chatting by her front door saying goodbye and I smelled the smell I detest most in the world. It smelled like cat marking going on. I asked her if she got a cat and she said it was her elderberry tree that was situated right next to her front door. I never heard of such a thing. So just in case, do not plant an elderberry tree by your front door. These trees grow in abundance in our area, all along the roadsides even, and we have about five of them growing wild on our property. But I never noticed them smelling like anything less than heavenly; especially when the pretty miniature flower blossom clusters open in the summer. Perhaps there’s an angry cat in my friend's midst she’s not aware of.
So in the summer we carefully collect these blossoms that smell like the tops of the heads of newborns and cook up a syrup to use as a concentrate in ice filled glass of water. This is Craig's favourite. I think it talks to the Kool-Aid kid in him. And then at this time of year we pick off whack loads of the berries to make jelly, syrup and tincture. The jelly is probably one of my favourites of the jam and jelly persuassion of treats but the bonus is it is full of antioxidants and immune enhancing properties that even my naturopath suggests the whole family taking a hit of everyday to keep illness at bay.
For the jelly I followed this basic recipe and it was made in time for when Edie caught that double whammy of nasty soul fever/stomach bug. A little bit of the jelly on fresh baked bread brought comfort to both ailments. On that same link there are directions to make syrup you can administer to whomever in the family needs a sweet boost either administered straight up or drizzled on yogurt or pancakes.
And the tincture is a cinch; pick enough of the well washed berries off of their stemmy clusters and fill a quart sized mason jar to the brim with them. Fill up the jar with enough vodka to cover and then seal tight. Keep the jar on a sunny window sill while remembering to give them a gentle shake every day. In about three weeks, strain out the berries, place the purple vodka into a sleek flask you can tuck into your coat pocket rockstar style (wipe that Smirnoff your face – I was just joking. Any kind of glass bottle will suffice) and give yourself and your adult partner a teaspoon a day and your kids half that dose. Other health care providers suggested I dilute the kids’ dosage into a glass of boiling water first to evaporate the alcohol content but nothing gets the kids aligned with early bedtimes then mommy’s special ‘movie time with daddy’ medicine. (Again, kidding.)
And totally not related to elderberry fixings but just about the cutest thing I’ve seen all weekend (other than Daisy and Meatballs joyfully jumping through a massive pile of leaves Craig built for them in the middle of their pasture yesterday. Over and over again. I almost died from the cuteness of it all)! Miss Fab from Fig and Me shared with me yet another creation of hers that she utilized one of my art yarns, Moe, in one of the most delightful ways; as hair for her amazing Waldorf-style dolls.
That Fabs is one talented lady. See the before? I never in my wildest dreams thought that this would end up as hair. But it works! Just like the elderberry tincture. See how I smoothly linked these two topics together?