What is the first image that would appear to you if someone said ‘spring’ to you?

Spring is the time of awakening from the sleep of winter, the time of the explosion of nature in all its forms. It is by definition the season of blossoming and abundance.

Centro Autosufficienza is located in the hills of the Tuscan-Romagna Apennines, surrounded by 110 hectares of forest. Every year we experience the seasons at their peak, and we believe that it is fundamental for human beings to learn to dance with them. Besides being fundamental for health, it is also a lot of fun: going in search of Rosehip berries in winter to make jams and mother tinctures, picking Marigold in spring to make wonderful oleolites. Or Lavender in summer to obtain its precious essential oil. In short, with all this abundance and variety, we don’t get bored here!

Our legendary azdora Franca, as well as preparing every week all kinds of Romagna delicacies, from piada to tortelli alla lastra, from tagliatelle to ravioli (strictly with eggs from happy hens!), also tries her hand at making jams, preserves, pickles, starting with the gifts that the earth offers us.

What will she have come up with this time?

Watch out, watch out…

Today she will tell us her recipe for elderberry syrup! And to make sure we don’t miss anything, as a true Romagna woman who is always putting her hands in the dough, she will reveal two other preparations, starting with the same ingredients, so that nothing is wasted and she can indulge in the kitchen to her heart’s content!

“Sweetheart, before I reveal my recipe, I must tell you something about the elderflower. Well, it is usually picked from the end of April to the end of May, depending on the altitude: here at 700 m above sea level, we pick it in May, but this year, with the heavy rains, we were long! It should be collected right away from the rains, otherwise the pollen is washed away and the flowers smell less.

Just think then that many throw away the mixture of flowers and lemons that is used to make syrup! Crazy stuff! Today I want to tell you how to make mouth-watering jams with it and give you some tips on how to make elderberry sparkling wine, too, to offer to your guests as an aperitif. Shall we?

Elderberry Syrup


  • 2l water
  • 25 elderberry flowers
  • 1 kg organic whole cane sugar
  • 9 organic lemons
  • 100 cl organic apple vinegar (a good alternative to acitric acid as a preservative)


  1. To make the mixture, put the water on the stove and as it heats up, dissolve the sugar in it. Let it cool and then add the apple vinegar and you’re done!
  2. Then prepare the elderflowers in jars. Remember to remove the green part first. Basically, put them well in the bottom together with the lemon slices (without seeds!) and then pour the mixture of water, sugar and apple vinegar over them.
  3. Close the jars and leave them to stand for three days, stirring occasionally.
  4. After three days, filter with a linen cloth or sterile gauze and pour the resulting mixture into glass bottles
  5. The bottle will last you a few weeks in the fridge. If you want to vacuum-pack them you have to do as with tomato sauce.

With elderberry syrup you can make lots of drinks and cocktails for your friends!

Elderflower and lemon marmalade

– Once you have filled the bottles with syrup (see point 4 above), you are left with a mixture of elderflower and lemon. Instead of throwing it away, you can make a jam out of it that is the end of the world!

– Simply blend it and add 200 g of organic whole cane sugar.

– Then boil it in a pot.

– After enough boiling, pour the jam under vacuum into glass jars. And it’s ready!

Elderberry sparkling wine


  • 6l water
  • 25 Elder flowers
  • Juice (without seeds) and zest (only the yellow part) of 6 organic lemons
  • 750 g organic whole cane sugar or 600 g sugar and 200 g sultanas


  • Boil the water, dissolve the sugar and leave to cool.
  • Then combine all the ingredients in a jar with a snap-top and let it ferment in the sun until it stops boiling (this takes 6-8 days, depending on the temperature)
  • Then strain the mixture and pour it into bottles with a crown cap. You can drink the sparkling wine after 20-25 days
  • Remember that it keeps very little, you have to keep it in the fridge! Then if you forget it, it turns into vinegar… It’s up to you!