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Pick the heads of plump elderberries on a sunny day and use a fork to strip the berries from their stalks. Wash the berries if you like, but this isn’t necessary as they are going to be strained.
Tip the berries into a saucepan and cover with about 1cm water. Add any extras like ginger or cloves, if you like. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer gently for 15-20 mins until the berries have softened into a liquid. Leave to cool slightly.
Strain the mixture through a fine sieve and measure how much liquid you have. For every 500ml of liquid, you’ll need 400g of sugar. Tip the sugar and liquid back into the cleaned saucepan with the lemon juice. Bring up to a simmer and gently bubble for about 10 mins until all the sugar has dissolved. Leave the syrup to cool completely and bottle or freeze. Will keep for three months in the fridge or frozen for up to a year. It can be diluted with hot or cold water to drink, used in desserts or drizzled over ice cream.