Home-made Elderflower Cordial recipe
Although there are a number of brands of ready-made Elderflower Cordial available now, it is is really easy to make your own. I think home-made Elderflower Cordial is best as it has a zesty lemony taste which ready-made versions don’t seem to have. Also, it is cheaper as the main ingredient is free!
How to find your elderflowers
Elderflowers are a good starting point for new “foragers” as they are so widely available and easily recognisable. They are the blossoms of the elder (Sambucus nigra) which is a small tree or shrub commonly found in woodlands and gardens throughout the UK.
The time to make this cordial is in late spring or early summer when the elderflowers are in bloom. When you start to look for them, you will see them everywhere in hedges in May and June. The elderflower heads consist of hundreds of small creamy-white flowers and have a distinctive elderflower aroma.
Elderflowers are best picked on a sunny day as the flavour will be stronger. Choose elderflower heads where the flowers are fully open but which have not yet started to turn brown. As with all foraged food, you need to make sure that the flowers that you are gathering have not been treated with any chemicals.
There are two views regarding preparation of elderflowers for use in cordial, gin or vinegar. The first is that you should not wash the elderflowers as this will impact the flavour and you should just shake the flowers and pick through them to remove any insects. The second is that the blooms need to be washed to remove the bugs, and any dirt, regardless of any reduction in flavour. I tend towards the “no-wash” view as I think the flavour is better but the choice is yours!
Some ideas for novice foragers
I am a fairly recent convert to the joys of foraging and tend to stick to things that are pretty easily identifiable such as elderflowers. My first foray into foraging involved blackberries (everyone knows what blackberries look like!) and resulted in Blackberry Ice Cream, Blackberry Gin and some yummy Blackberry Muffins. Some of my other favourite foraged recipes include Nettle Soup and a tart which combines onions with Wild Garlic. All made with ingredients which are pretty easy to identify. Definitely steering clear of foraged mushrooms for the time being!
Easy home-made Elderflower Cordial recipePrint
This luscious home-made elderflower cordial is so easy to make and can be used in soft drinks, as a cooking ingredient or to bring a floral note to cocktails.
- About 20 elderflower heads
- 3 unwaxed lemons
- 1 kg sugar
- Either shake the eldereflowers and pick through them to remove any insects or wash the elderflower heads to remove any insects.
- Then place them in a large bowl together with the grated zest of the lemons. (Reserve the lemons as you will need to use their juice later.)
- Pour 1.5 litres of boiling water over the elderflowers and lemon zest. Cover and leave to infuse overnight.
- The next day, strain the liquid through a sieve lined with muslin or kitchen paper, into a large saucepan.
- Add the sugar and the juice of the lemons to the infused liquid and heat gently to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved, simmer more rapidly for around 5 minutes until the liquid has thickened slightly.
- Transfer the cordial into sterilised bottles or jars. (There are various ways of sterilising bottles and jars. I think the easiest is to wash in soapy water and then put in an oven at 120 C for 15 minutes).
- Once bottled, the cordial will keep for several weeks in the fridge.
Although the preparation time is only 15 minutes, you do need to leave the mixture to infuse overnight (see step 3).
Keywords: elderflower cordial
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Other Elderflower Recipes
I am a big fan of elderflower and love its distinctive floral flavour. I have lots of recipes, some using fresh elderflowers and some which can be made with shop-bought elderflower cordial.
- Elderflower Vinegar – very easy to make with fresh elderflowers and brings a brilliant floral taste to summer salad dressings.
- Home-made Elderflower Gin – very easy to make with fresh elderflowers and great drunk on its own or as the basis for floral cocktails.
- Elderflower Cupcakes – quick and easy and can be made using shop-bought cordial.
- Simple Elderflower Ice Cream – delicious floral ice cream which can be made using shop-bought elderflower cordial.
- Elderflower and Gooseberry Sorbet – a refreshing floral sorbet that celebrates the brilliant flavour match of elderflower and gooseberry.
- Elderflower Pannacotta – light and creamy summer dessert,