Last year when I moved into my apartment, I found out I had an elderflower tree in my garden. In the fall it produces dark purple elderberries and every spring it blossoms elderflowers. The first year, I took some elderberries and tried to make it into elderberry syrup. All went well, I boiled my berries (they are poisonous when raw), added some spices and sweetener, and was ready to drain the berries out. That is where it went completely wrong. My mind somehow thought it needed to save the berries, not the liquid, and there went my precious syrup through the drain, oh yeah. I didn’t attempt another syrup making that year.
Now, one and a half years later, I really wanted to do something with those pretty flowers again. When looking for recipe inspiration, all the syrup recipes reminded me of my big fail with the berries and Ellen (the other Kwieker) and I decided to go with an sun-infused iced tea instead!
When picking elderflowers, try to choose the ones that look and smell fresh, and that are newly opened. These will taste the best! Make sure to remove all the leaves and stems, since they are poisonous. If you can't find elderflower in your neighbourhood (we are a bit late with this recipe, our trees have long stopped blooming, but hey, keep this recipe in mind for next year!), this infused iced tea can be made with a million things. We made another one with donut peaches for example or you can add sprigs of mint or basil, lemon or orange peel or even fresh lavender! Even just infusing herbal tea bags in the sun will taste amazing!
The method we used to make this iced tea is pretty cool. We used the energy of the sun to infuse all the flavours by placing the jar outside in the sunshine for a few hours. This recipe is great for when it is a hot summer and you don't want to stand in your kitchen while heating up your stove. The slow steeping method will give a more mellow flavour to your iced tea than using boiling water to infuse, but we think it is perfect for hot summer days with a few ice cubes and it makes you feel like a flower-power hippie! Or maybe that is just me...
Flower power iced tea
for 1 big jar
2 tea bags (any herbal, green, rooiboos, lemon etc.) *
Optional, infusing ingredients: a few sprigs of elderflowers, couple of peach slices, mint, basil, lemon slices or peel, orange slices or peel, lavender, cinnamon stick, fresh ginger etc.
Add the tea to a big jar or glass bottle, together with your infusing ingredients. Fill the bottle with cold water. Close it. Put somewhere outside in the sun for at least 3-5 hours. You can taste it to see if you think it is strong enough, if not, infuse a bit more. You can take the tea bags out if you feel it steeped long enough, but this is not necessary. Keep your tea in the fridge and drink within 2 days.
* When using fresh tea it is best to add them to a bag to infuse so you can take them out when you think it is strong enough.