What an amazing week I had running foraging workshops and cookery demonstrations. Foraged syrups were extremely popular - I share my basic recipe here
I am back home after a fabulous, and very hot, week of running foraging workshops and cookery demonstrations at the wonderful RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.
This year's show gardens included a lot of native and wildflower planting, which was of particular interest to me as a forager. The trade stands were full of wonderful plants and gifts to tempt even to most frugal - I am rather glad I was working and didn't have time to shop (much)!
I ran an number of different foraging workshops during the week, but one of the most popular was Foraged Syrups.
Tasty foraged syrups can be made from a whole range of edible plants and flowers. They can be used to drizzle on ice cream; as the base of a presse; to flavour panna cotta, spirits, sparkling wines, and coffee, or within a dressing
As promised to many of those who attended, here is my basic recipe and some ideas for ingredients.
Making a foraged syrup
The recipe I am going to share should give you an easy formula to work up or down as necessary. I tend to work out the amounts based on the volume of foraged ingredient I have.
200g sugar (you can use less but you will get a less thick syrup)
1/4tsp citric acid or 1tbs lemon juice
The amount of foraged ingredient varies according to strength of flavour, this is a rough guide:
Blitzed or finely chopped strong herb (eg lavender) or conifer growth tips 50-100mls
Blitzed or finely chopped mild herb (eg sweet cecily) 200mls
Whole flowers (non-herb) 400mls
Put the water and sugar in a pan and place on a medium heat
Stir until the sugar has dissolved and remove from heat
Allow to cool to between 40 and 50C
Add the citric acid/lemon juice and stir in
Place the foraged ingredient into a sterile clip top jar
Pour the warm syrup into the clip top jar to cover all of the foraged ingredient
Close the lid and leave for 24hrs
After 24hrs, strain into a non-reactive pan and bring to the boil with a lid on the pan for five minutes
Bottle into sterile jars and complete by canning
Allow to cool
Alternatively, you can add the foraged ingredient to the pan after the lemon, place a lid on the pan and bring to the boil. Keep gently boiling for 15 mins, then allow to cool. the syrup should then be strained, bottled and canned. This method will have a slightly weaker flavour.
And, if you wish to not boil your ingredients, strain and bottle after step seven, but use your syrups within 48 hours.
Syrups I had at the show included: rose, rose hip, linden, hawthorn, spruce, pine, meadowsweet, gorse, elderflower, elderberry, sweet cicely, wild thyme, flowering currant, water mint, and lilac.
And that's all there is to it. You can mix ingredients together and really have some fun. Give it a try!
Discover more wild edibles and recipes on a foraging course
Always stay safe when foraging. You need to be 100% sure of your identification, 100% sure that your foraged item is edible, and 100% sure that you are not allergic to it (it is good practice to always try a small amount of any new food you are consuming). If in doubt, leave it out!