This recipe for elderflower cordial makes a refreshing Summer drink when mixed with still or sparkling water.
The elder flowers are abundant in hedgerows & woodland in June and can be easily gathered. Make sure you leave some flowers to develop into berries for the wildlife, and of course to ensure the continued supply of plants.
Flowers are best picked when the weather has been warm for a couple of days and the perfume is at its best. Try to pick flowers which still have a few buds to open as they are usually the freshest.
Fragrance will differ from tree to tree so I always smell before I pick. Usually resulting in me having a yellow tipped nose. 🙂
Ingredients for Elderflower Cordial
25 elderflower heads
1 ½ litres of boiling water
3 x unwaxed lemons
1 x orange
1 tsp citric acid (optional, I think it adds to the zing)
1 kg granulated sugar
Check your Elderflowers are bug free and place them in a large mixing bowl. Do not wash as this preserves the pollen which adds to the taste.
Zest the Orange and the Lemons and add to the bowl
Now pour over 1 ½ litres of boiling water and leave to cool before covering and placing in the refrigerator to infuse overnight. Don’t worry that your Elderflowers have gone brown with the heat, this doesn’t affect the flavour.
Remove the flower heads from the bowl and discard.
Strain the liquid through muslin or as I like to do, through a coffee filter sitting in a sieve (It’s very effective and not very expensive) over a large saucepan.
Zest the Orange and Lemons and place in the pan. Squeeze the juice from the fruits & add this to the saucepan.
Finally add the granulated sugar & 1 heaped teaspoon of Citric Acid.
Now place the pan over a moderate heat and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer for a few minutes then remove from the heat.
If you are using glass bottles you can funnel the liquid in to them whilst still warm or wait until cooled if you are filling plastic ones.
I usually leave my elderflower cordial in the fridge to mature for a week before using it. This allows the cordial to develop a more rounded flavour.