Unlike the Second World War, there was no official rationing until towards the end of the Great War. But much of Britain’s food was imported and so there were soon shortages, and many things became expensive. It wasn’t just food, but medicines, too. So, like Elin, many women grew and preserved as much as they could. They foraged for things like blackberries and rosehips, which are an excellent source of vitamin C and wonderful home remedies for coughs and colds.
It might not sound heroic, but without food and medicine no one can survive. Food was sent out to the soldiers at the front, and helped the wounded recover. It fuelled the workers who kept the country functioning – all those forgotten millions without whom the war could not have been fought and lives rebuilt afterwards. And may of the recipes are delicious!
6 large heads of Elderflower.
2 1bs (907g) Sugar
4 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
2 (10 l) Gallons of cold water
Wash the lemons and peel the lemon rind as thinly as possible. Remove any insects, leaves or other unwanted objects from the Elderflowers. Squeeze the lemons and put the juice into a large vessel along with the lemon rind and flowers. Add the sugar and the wine vinegar. Pour on the water. Put a lid or cover over the top of the vessel and leave to stand for 24 hours. Stir gently every six hours.
Sterilise strong bottles. (plastic fizzy drinks with screw tops bottles are fine) Strain the mixture and pour into the bottles.
After two weeks the champagne is sparkling and delicious. However, the taste does improve with time and can be left for up to two years.