Elderflower season is relatively short, and during this window of opportunity, whilst the elders are actually flowering, we make our entire year’s supply of elderflower cordial, batch after batch. It comes at the right time of year too, just as the warm weather arrives, so do the ingredients for a soft drink. I make other cordials too, and most require citric acid, for both the sharp flavour, but also the preserving qualities.
Buying citric acid brings its problems. Not available from the supermarket, the chemist is the next port of call, and quite often they wont sell it to you – as citric acid is used with certain drugs. Sometimes they just question you – the mentioning of the secret codeword ‘cordial’ might score you a 50g packet. And that isn’t going to make a year’s supply of soft drink. Try and get some more, and eyebrows rise. It’s a tad ironic that the chemist is careful about who they let have citric acid, when the stuff is handed out for free, along with needles to keep users safe from using other things. I only want to make cordial. I am a pusher. A cordial pusher.
In my village chemist, they are more familiar with the cordial making, but at this time of year, everyone is doing the same and they run out. Homebrew shops sell it no problem (I’m guessing serious drug users have no need for homebrew). But alas we don’t have an actual homebrew shop nearby. So what to do? Well obviously have 1 kilo packets of white powder delivered to our house. (Yes, the last lot did come from a company called Bigger Jugs…and yes it was on the packaging….). I do wonder if people can get the wrong impression.
This made me think about last time we bought saltpetre. We bought it, of course, to use in the making of bacon, ham and salami. We don’t use it any more, as we are not actually trying to make ham that will actually keep – we have the fridge and freezers for that, and the only other thing saltpetre can bring to the party is keeping the meat pink, a side effect, and given too much saltpetre is bad for you, we can live with not so pink bacon. When I bought it, though, I did notice the suggestions.. ‘other people who bought saltpetre also bought: fuses, rocket tubes, a book on pyromania, fertilizers….’ – it’s a bit worrying isn’t…..
To complete the wrong impressions purchases, we finish off with some small measurement scales. This set from myco is great, pocket sized, battery operated, they can measure a fraction of a gram. I recommend them. We bought them for measuring dye. We dye our own sheep’s wool, and for repeatable results, you need accurate measurements of dye to weight of wool ratio. Also great for measuring spices and eggs ( I like to keep an eye on egg sizes from our breeding flock). From the ‘other people who bought this also bought’ links, I think other people are using these scales for something else…
It probably doesn’t help that himself insists on referring to them as ‘the drug scales’, and doesn’t hesitate to shout it out in the garden, pub, where-ever.
So now, in this post I have mentioned, drugs, fuses, pyromania, white powder, bigger jugs, score, acid, needles, users, and more. I expect to have the authorities around within minutes of publishing , and have to hope that when they see the elderflowers steeping in syrup, an egg balanced on the scales and the dye pot simmering on the side, they will believe we are innocent!