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Elderflower Cordial

We’ve reached the season for making your own elderflower cordial.

Pick the blossoms from trees away from roads or other places where fumes and dust can pollute them. Choose flower heads that are fully open but not yet losing their petals (give a shake to see if any detach themselves). If you are lucky enough to have a pink elderflower variety growing in your garden, you will get a beautiful rose-coloured cordial.

Try and use them as soon after picking as possible, and prepare them by simply snipping off the stalks. Inspect for any stray insects, but don’t rinse them as this will wash away the nectar.

This recipe makes a large amount – about 2-3 litres – but it keeps well in the fridge and you can store any surplus in the freezer.

You will need some clean lidded bottles to store it in, and a large piece of muslin for straining the finished product. Also a large non-reactive vessel (stainless steel, glass or plastic) for steeping the flowers.

Dilute the cordial to taste with ice cold, still or sparkling water. It also makes a comforting hot drink on cool days, and is a great alternative to sugar or honey, drizzled over strawberries for instance, or added to cake frosting or whipped cream. Try adding a spoonful to salad dressings, or to poached gooseberries or rhubarb. Or look online for elderflower ice cream or sorbet recipes

Ingredients

  • 2 kg granulated sugar
  • 2 litres water
  • 2 large unwaxed lemons, washed and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of citric acid*
  • 25 -30 heads of elderflower

Method

Bring the water to the boil in a large stainless steel pan

Add the sugar and citric acid and allow to completely dissolve over a low heat. Remove the pan from the heat

Add the elderflower blossoms and lemons and stir. Ensure that they are submerged by placing a plate on the surface.

Cover the pan with a lid, and leave in a cool place for 2 – 4 days.

Line a large colander with the rinsed out muslin, stand it over a large bowl or pan and carefully pour in the contents of the pan.

Once most of the syrup has drained through, gather up the corners of the muslin, twist and squeeze to extract as much of the remaining cordial as possible.

Use a jug and funnel to fill your bottles. If you plan to freeze them, leave a gap for the contents to expand.

*Citric acid can be hard to source; try looking in Asian groceries such as Taj and Teba, where it is found with the sachets of spices.

Posted in Erika’s Kitchen on Jun 01, 2023