Elderflower and Vanilla Jam by Graham Hornigold.

Elderflowers are a quintessential sign of the British summertime and have a distinctive floral scent. The flowers bloom for just a small time, usually in late May- early June and are best picked after rain or on a dewy morning. The trees grow abundantly- we forage our local area and can easily pick sufficient flowers in just a short time. This jam is very soft- more like a jelly- and preserves the wonderful flavour all year round, perfect spread on fresh sourdough, crumpets or scones.


  • 12-15 large elderflower umbels or flowerheads
  • 1.5L water
  • 1.5kg jam sugar
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 Zazou Emporium Ugandan vanilla pod
  • ½ tsp citric acid, mixed with 1 tsp water


  1. Place the flower heads in a large bowl and cover with the cold water.
  2. Peel the oranges and lemons and place the zests in the bowl with the flowers and water. Cover, and allow to infuse at room temperature for 24-48hours.
  3. Strain off the liquid, and place in a large pot or jam pan. Add the sugar and vanilla and bring to the boil.
  4. Reduce the jam to a simmer and continue cooking until the jam reaches 104 deg C on a sugar thermometer.
  5. Alternatively, place a couple of spoonful’s of the jam into a shallow dish and allow to cool. The jam has reached setting point when you can draw a clean line through the jam with your finger, and a skin forms within 5 minutes.
  6. Remove the jam from the heat and add the citric acid.
  7. Carefully pour the hot jam into sterilised jam jars. Close the lids tightly and turn the jars upside down to cool.
  8. Leave in a cool place for a minimum of 3 days, to allow the pectin to fully set.