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Elderflower Cordial

Updated: Aug 17, 2020

If you’re quick you can catch the tail end of the elderflowers while they’re in bloom, to make this delicious and refreshing cordial. It‘s fab with sparkling water but also goes pretty nicely with Prosecco or in a gin and tonic! 

I use it in our ever popular elderflower, blackberry and lime cake. I will share the recipe for that on this blog shortly.

Our elderflower tree was in full bloom just a few days ago and so I ventured up a ladder to retrieve some stems from which to make some elderflower cordial. In the 10 years I’ve lived in this beautiful little cottage, it is something I always love to do. The buds are green for ages and then all of a sudden, the pretty, delicate and fragrant flowers burst into life at the end of May. However, they last such a short time, that by the time I get my act together they’re usually going past their prime and I only manage to catch the late blooms. Fortunately you don’t need many, a big bowl full will do the trick.

You need four ingredients for making the cordial. About 20 elderflower blooms, 2 lemons, 2.5 kgs sugar and 80g citric acid. You can order citric acid off the internet or buy it in a pharmacy. It is, apparently, used in the preparation of heroin so i have been asked before now what I was going to be using it for!

The cordial is simple enough to make, although there’s a bit of faff involved in bottling it up. Dissolve the sugar in 1.5 litres of water by heating and stirring it. Once dissolved, continue heating until it reaches a boil.

Meanwhile peel the rind off 2 lemons with a potato peeler and slice the lemons up. Rinse the bugs off the elderflowers and cut off the stalks.

When your syrup mixture boils, take it off the heat and add the flowers, lemon and 80g citric acid straight away. Cover and leave to infuse for 24 hours. Then strain through a clean tea towel and bottle up into sterilised bottles. 

If you can’t be bothered to sterilise the bottles then you can just keep it in the fridge. It does make a lot though so unless you’ll get through it quickly then it makes sense to take the trouble. A hot wash in the dishwasher will suffice!

It makes about 3.5 litres of cordial.

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