Elderflower Cordial

Sweet and citrusy cordial, flavoured with fragrant and lemony elderflowers.

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All along the roadsides and hedges at this time of year, the green bushes are decorated with the white plumes of the elderflower. I have been waiting (very impatiently!) for the elderflowers to appear this year, so I was delighted when I started to see them popping out over the last few weeks.

This weekend, equipped with three plastic carrier bags, we went searching for elderflowers, on a walk through the country side, and returned with enough elderflowers to make 8 bottles of cordial, and even a cheeky elderflower gin (post coming soon!).

You can recognise elderflowers easily. They are small trees/bushes, with big clusters of very small creamy white flowers. Try to pick them on a dry day, and they are supposed to be at their best when they still have a few unopened buds on the flower head. Even if you have never noticed them before, if you go on a walk in the countryside, you are bound to find at least a few big bushes!

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Most recipes for elderflower cordial use citric acid as a preservative, but I couldn’t get hold of any in time, so I have used campden tablets instead. However I do think that means that I needed to use a lot more lemon juice to get the balance of flavour right!

Having said that, I am really pleased with my elderflower cordial, it tastes so much better than the cordial you buy in the shops, and we managed to get through an entire bottle in just one week! I’m looking forward to using it to liven up cocktails and even to flavour cakes and biscuits over the summer.

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Ingredients: Makes Two 750ml Bottles:

  • 50 elderflower heads
  • 8 lemons
  • 1 lime
  • 600g sugar
  • 1 Campden tablet (optional)

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To Make:

Wash the elderflowers under some cold water and remove any insects.

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Remove as much stem as possible and transfer the flowers to a 1.5L jar, with the zest of 1 lemons and 1 lime. Quarter the zested fruit and add to the flowers.

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Pour 750ml cold water over the flours and seal. Leave to infuse in the fridge for 24 hours.

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Drain the elderflower liquid through a muslin bag and transfer to a large pan.

Add 500g of sugar and the juice of 8 lemons to the elderflower water (squeeze out the juice of the lemon and lime from the infusion aswell!), and heat until the sugar has dissolved Taste now to check it is sweet/sour enough for you.

Stir through one crushed camden tablet, and pour into sterilised glass bottles and seal.

The cordial should keep for up to 6 months if you use the campden tablets. If not, it will keep in the fridge for a few weeks.

Serve with fizzy water and ice, for a deliciously refreshing summer drink.

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