We made elderflower cordial for the first time last week, and it was so much easier than I expected. It’s an ideal weekend job, and a British summer classic. The fragrant, flowery, lemony flavour is delicious. Here’s how we did it:
1. Collect some flowers
Elderflowers can be found everywhere at the moment in hedgerows and on trees. If you’re not sure where to find some, ask around. Lots of people have an Elder tree in their gardens, and you’ll only need 10 flower heads for this recipe. Cut off the flower heads and collect in a bucket. Don’t worry if they are covered in blackfly, ours certainly were, because you’ll be able to wash them off, and any bugs or bits you miss will be filtered out later.
2. Gather together your ingredients
For this recipe you will need:
10 Elderflower heads
1.25kg White Sugar
42g Citric Acid granules – available in chemists shops or online.
1 lemon (unwaxed if possible, or just give it a quick scrub)
1 large pan
1 vegetable peeler
1 clean tea towel or linen cloth
1 large bowl
Sterilised bottles & a funnel – I prepared mine by rinsing them, then putting them in the microwave for 45 seconds.
3. Prepare the flowers
Wash the flowers under the tap as best you can, then cut off the stalks. (I actually forgot to cut the stalks off but it didn’t seem to do any harm.) Place in a bowl of cold water to soak for no more than 30 mins.
4. Make the sugar syrup
Add the sugar and water to a pan on a low heat, and stir gently until the sugar has fully dissolved. Then turn up the heat, bring the mixture to a boil, and immediately turn off the heat.
5. Add the remaining ingredients
Peel the zest off the lemon, then cut the lemon into circles, and add all to the pan.
Chuck in the citric acid.
Shake any excess water off the flowers and throw them in too.
Give the mixture a bit of a stir, then put the lid on and find something else to do for the next 24 hours!
6. Strain the mixture and fill your
This is the fun bit, but you must wait for the mixture to steep for 24 hours. Line a colander with a tea towel, place it over your bowl, and pour the whole mixture through the tea towel/colander combo. The syrup will slowly drip through, leaving with a clear, slightly green cordial, while leaving all the messy stuff in the tea towel.
Once it’s all been strained through the tea towel, and you’re just left with the sticky, messy flowers and lemon bits, you can pour the cordial into into your bottles using the funnel. We ended up filling one old gin bottle and then had to use two old beer bottles for what was left over. Pop a cork or lid on the bottles and you’re done.
You can drink it straightaway, and it should last about 6 weeks if kept in the fridge.
7. Drink it up!
Your can drink your lovely elderflower cordial diluted with tap water or fizzy water, add it to a gin and tonic, or even add a dash to some prosecco. Always add a slice of lemon, just to be classy of course.
If you want to make more, obviously you could just double up this recipe. Let me know if you have a go at making your own and do send photos to me via my Facebook page! x