Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Elderflower Cordial

Something I missed off my to do list! Make Elderflower Cordial.
My husband and I have made this for the last three years, we are going to be a little more ambitious this year and also try wine, champagne and cider - all flavoured with elderflower.

So today I was tasked with the job of collecting the first batch of elderflowers. These beautiful delicate flowers can be found in the hedgerows and at the side of the roads all over the UK at this time of year.
I set off with black bag and scissors in hand. However I'd forgotten that abundance of nettles, and had gone out in a skirt and sandals - not ideal! I collected about 90 heads of flowers, enough to make three batches of cordial.

If you've never had elderflower cordial - try it.
  1. Diluted with sparkling water, ice and a slice of lemon.
  2. A little poured over tart red berries instead of using sugar
  3. Use to flavour ice cream ( fantastic served with shortbread and raspberries.
I did a lot of research and found that Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's recipe from The River Cottage Cookbook was the easiest and delicious as well.

You need: 
20-30 heads of elderflowers - freshly picked
zest of 2 lemons and 1 orange
up to 1.5kg granulated or caster sugar
up to 200ml of freshly squeezed lemon juice (3-5 lemons)
tartaric acid*

  1. Shake the insects off the heads of the flowers and place in a large bowl with the lemon and orange zest. Cover completely with just boiled water and leave for at least 4 hrs or overnight.
  2. Strain the liquid through muslin of a clean cotton cloth and squeeze gently to extract all the juice. Measure the amount of liquid and pour into a pan.
  3. For every 500ml of liquid, add 350g sugar, 50ml lemon juice and a heaped teaspoon of tartaric acid*
  4. Heat gently to dissolve sugar, bring to a gentle simmer and skim off any scum. Allow to cool, strain again and pour into sterilised bottles and seal.
*you can make this without the tartaric acid, but it will only keep for  a few weeks in the fridge. It can be frozen in plastic containers and will keep longer. Using the tartaric acid the cordial should keep in a cool place for up to a year - if you can keep your hands off it that long!

To serve: dilute to taste at least 5:1 water to cordial.


  1. That looks like a very interesting project. I wonder how it tastes- I bet it is quite unique!

  2. Elderflowers picked and I have orangey lemoney loveliness on stand-by. Yumza!!! Nice one Claire. xx


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