To my mind, Spring has finally sprung when the first tender flowers appear on our Elderberry bush and I can look forward to the first batch of Elderflower Cordial fresh from the garden.
The girls and Cock love to shelter from the sun under the seasonal shade the bush provides in our otherwise tree-less garden. (Oh, how I yearn for an orchard…)
The delicate, creamy-white flowers make the most divine Elderflower Cordial and, as the flowers very quickly make way for berries, there is a short window of opportunity in which to harvest them.
The flowers form distinctly separate heads which should be picked in the morning on a dry, sunny day when their aroma will be at its best. Pick a time when you will be able to make the cordial immediately as the flowers are best used within two hours of picking.
My Elderflower Cordial Recipe
You will need: –
15-20 Elderflower heads
1 litre boiling water
1kg granulated sugar
2 large lemons (zest AND juice)
Some recipes call for citric acid as well, but I find using the zest and juice of the lemons works just as well.
Shake the flowers to remove any insects and cut off the stalks. Put the flowers in a large bowl.
Add the sugar to the boiling water in a jug and stir until dissolved, then add the lemon zest and juice.
Pour the syrup over the elderflowers, cover and leave for 3 days, giving it a good stir each morning and night.
Strain the mixture through a piece of muslin, squeezing well to capture every lovely drop!
Decant into sterilized bottles. (To sterilize, wash two one-litre bottles and leave to dry. Pre-heat an oven to 150′ celsius, lay your bottles on the oven shelf and leave for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before filling.)
Voilà! Delicious, homemade, Elderflower Cordial ready to enjoy! It will keep up to a year in the fridge, although you’ll be doing well if it lasts until the end of the summer holidays if your kids are anything like mine:)
It also makes a lovely gift if presented in swing-top bottles like these with a hand crafted label and gift tag.
I like it best served with sparkling mineral water (dilute about 1 part cordial to 6 parts water) but it is just as nice made with lemonade apparently – and plenty of ice.
Endorsed by children everywhere (well, six year old Freddy loves it anyway)…
There you have it, your very own, not to mention quick and easy, Elderflower Cordial – luvvly jubbly.