Elderflower Cordial


It's elderflower time. Elder is rampant in the hedges around my house. Yesterday I filled my bike basket with elderflowers and brought them home to begin making elderflower cordial. I've been making it for at least five years now and it couldn't be easier or more rewarding.
I use the recipe from The River Cottage Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall with a little simplification of my own.

Elderflower Cordial
20-30 elderflower heads
sugar
5 lemons
water

Put the flowers (shake any insects off first) in a large bowl with the zest of the lemons.

Pour over about 2 litres of just-boiled water and leave to infuse overnight. The flowers will turn brown, this is fine.

The next day pour the flowers and water into a jelly-bag or sieve lined with a bit of muslin. Let all the liquid drain out, squeeze it to get it all. Measure the liquid and for every 500 ml add 350 gm of sugar and 50 ml of lemon juice- 5 lemons should do it. The original recipe adds tartaric acid at this point. This is to enable it to keep for a long time in bottles. I never bother with it preferring to freeze what I can't use immediately.

Put everything in a large pan and stir over a low heat to dissolve all the sugar. Then bring to a gentle simmer -don't boil it. Leave to cool. Strain again and pour into sterilised bottles. I do this by pouring boiling water into them. A funnel is useful for bottling. I still managed to get an awful lot of cordial over my worktop, floor and feet. It is very sticky.


I filled two of these bottles-they used to hold passata.

It will keep for several weeks in the fridge. I froze the rest of mine. I'm using plastic bags inside tubs here because all my tubs smell of onions.



Dilute it about 1 part cordial with 5 parts water. We like sparkling.


Serve with ice and hand to teenaged boys as soon as they get in from school.


Comments

  1. That looks delicious. I am always up for yummy, refreshing, but natural drinks especially on a hot summer's day. I was just drooling over the recipe in the same cookbook yesterday, how funny.

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  2. Looks good. I think you may be just a wee bit ahead of us with the flowers. I was thinking that they should be ready in the next week or so up here. Did use the tartaric acid last year as hadn't thought of the freezing option but it lasted really well and we are just finishing the last bottle from last year now. Brings a bit of summer to a cold day.

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  3. Looks lovely - sadly haven't seen any elderflowers round here recently - I think I may have to plant my own in the garden as it is one of my favourite drinks.
    I am really enjoying your blog - some lovely ideas and it encouraged me to buy a yoghurt maker very recently - can't believe how easy it is!

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  4. As always I am inspired. I will raid the hedges as I walk the dog this morning!!!!!!!!!

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  5. I think we will be having a go, you could always freeze this in ice cube bags

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  6. Hi, I just came across your lovely blog and your post entitled Eat Less Move More. For a moment I thought I'd dreamt it because you have put into words almost exactly my thoughts on being overweight and how I would like to tackle it. I wish you luck and will be checking back often to see how you're getting on! I have about 3 stone of my own to lose :o(

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  7. Lovely! I love elderflowers and I love your pictures of them. Gorgeous!! Thanks for the Tirzah Garwood link, I'd better get saving... or start dropping some serious hints! Oh and... I can't figure out how to subscribe to blogs either. Thankfully some people are more technologically minded or I'd never know if my blog was being read! A x

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  8. I went to pick my elderflowers this morning. I have been watching the hedgerows everyday for a couple of weeks, the flowers weren't quite out last weekend, but now there are masses. I am sure there are more than last year. I also used the River Cottage recipie and have also started two lots of elderflower wine.

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  9. Remember to pick them on a dry day folks.

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  10. Oh crikey! Snap Indeed and on the same day as well. At least they're slightly different recipes, although equally scrumptious. You have better pics though (she said magnanimously...)

    This is the second time this has happened. I was about to write a piece on hedgelaying, I'd taken the photos and everything and I happened to be checking my other favourite blogs when lo and behold New Anzac Musings had got there first. I will still do the piece, but 6 months hence I think.

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  11. PS. I've just read your Eat Less Move More page. I fear we may be twins separated at birth. Apart from the fact that I'm marginally taller and clearly older. Other than that...

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  12. Oh - and we have the same camera.

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  13. Not much older WH, I'll be 45 in December.

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  14. A footie genius too. I promise I wasn't disrespecting the beautiful game there is no escape at the mo. Bit of a tennis junkie myself. I'd rather play than watch mind. Pray for dry tomorrow as I plan to go scrumping in the hedges.

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  15. I love Elderflower Cordial and yours looks delicious.

    Hope you're having a fab weekend. (A bit wet though).

    Jill x

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  16. Anonymous10:03 pm BST

    I love your blog. I've wanted to post a comment before to tell you how much I enjoy reading it, but I can't work out all this 'LiveJournal', 'Google Account' stuff. Decided just to post as Anonymous!!
    Have a lovely week. Abi x

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  17. Anonymous1:14 am BST

    i am surprised to find that americans don't seem to know anything about elderflower "champagne" as one of my british friends likes to call her lovely beverage. there are many elderberries blooming now in michigan, and i believe the species is a different one, but the flowers still make a delicious drink.

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  18. I have been meaning to make elderflower cordial for years and your blog entry finally prompted me into action. I now have a lovely row of bottles and it is delicious - thank you!

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  19. I made some today using just sugar water and the flowers, it smells heavenly, but doesn't taste quite right. I'm going to make some more following your recipe. Maybe the bottle I have will taste better with a slice of lemon in it for now !! Thank you

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    Replies
    1. It definitely needs the lemon juice Angharad, I hope you enjoy it.

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