This is the season when beautiful white elderflowers are decorating local hedgerows. Not only do these delicate blossoms look pretty & smell gorgeous, they also make the most delicious cordial. And if you make the cordial now & store it correctly it will keep for many months giving you a taste of Summer throughout the year.
To make Elderflower Cordial you'll need to collect around 20 or so flower heads each holding clusters of tiny white flowers. Before collecting them it's important to consider a few things. Make sure the flowers are growing wild & not in someone's garden, only collect flowers from trees away from a main road so they're not affected by traffic fumes, & make sure the flowers you collect are well above dog height!
When picking the flowers make sure you only collect the fresh white flower heads which have a delicate scent. Any tiny flowers which are brown or have no scent will be no good for making a cordial. Did you know that the flowers have different scents & tastes on different days? If you can try collecting your elderflowers on a warm sunny day when their scent will be sweeter rather than on a dull, cold day when the scent is less intense.
When collecting flower heads, or foraging for any wild food, always make sure there are plenty of other blooms left for the birds & wildlife.
Ideally your elderflowers will have lots of yellow pollen which is the key ingredient for our cordial. To prepare the flowers gently shake each flower head outdoors to remove any bugs or insects that may be on them. Don't wash the flowers as you'll just be washing the pollen (flavour) away.
To make the cordial you'll need:
20 prepared elderflower heads
2 large unwaxed lemons (grated & juiced)
600g caster sugar
1 heaped teaspoon of citric acid (available from chemists)
2 large cooking pans (with lids)
A muslin square
3 sterilised glass bottles/containers (We recycled some glass lemonade bottles)
To sterilise containers you can either wash them in hot soapy water, rinse them & then place them on a clean baking sheet in an oven (140C or 120C for fan ovens) until completely dry, or sterilise them in a dishwasher.
Start by adding 1 litre of cold water to a large pan & bring to the boil.
Once the water has boiled turn off the heat & add the elderflowers, lemon zest & place the lid on top. Leave the contents of the pan to infuse overnight.
When you remove the lid from the pan the next day you'll notice the colour of the mixture has changed to a light honey colour. You're now ready to strain the mixture. Place a muslin over the empty pan & using a ladle transfer the elderflowers & liquid to the new pan.
The flowers should sit in the muslin while the liquid drains through.
When you have transferred all the clear liquid remove the muslin.
Add the sugar, lemon juice & citric acid to the pan & simmer the contents for 5-10mins.
Using a jug carefully pour the Elderflower Cordial into your sterilised bottles & set aside to cool.
When cool store your bottles in the fridge, they should keep for up to 6 weeks. If you wish to keep the cordial for longer you can freeze it (just cordial no water) in ice-cube trays & use it when required. We froze some of our homemade cordial last year & enjoyed it over the Winter months for a taste of Summer.
To make a refreshing drink just dilute with chilled water, or create your own Homemade Sparkling Elderflower by adding carbonated water instead. This tasty homemade recipe has been a winner with all ages & just perfect for Summer parties.
A great recipe to make with children (obviously with adult supervision) & a lovely reminder of what nature has to offer us.
If you liked this you might also like our Elderflower Clay.