Elderflower Cordial

Picked elderflowers

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!

elderflowers

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!

elderflower cordial
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!

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Easy home-made Elderflower Cordial recipe

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elderflower cordial

Elderflower Cordial

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1.5 litres 1x
  • Category: Cordial
  • Cuisine: English

Description

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.


Ingredients

Scale
  • About 20 elderflower heads
  • 3 unwaxed lemons
  • 1 kg sugar

Instructions

  1. Either shake the eldereflowers and pick through them to remove any insects or wash the elderflower heads to remove any insects.
  2. 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.)
  3. Pour 1.5 litres of boiling water over the elderflowers and lemon zest.   Cover and leave to infuse overnight.
  4. The next day, strain the liquid through a sieve lined with muslin or kitchen paper, into a large saucepan.
  5. 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.
  6. 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).
  7. Once bottled, the cordial will keep for several weeks in the fridge.

Notes

Although the preparation time is only 15 minutes, you do need to leave the mixture to infuse overnight (see step 3).

Keywords: elderflower cordial

Loved this recipe? Checkout the Recipe Index.

elderflower cordial
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 cordial

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Rhubarb Cordial

Rhubarb ready to be made into rhubarb cordial
Freshly-cut rhubarb and jars

This is a companion to the recipe for Rhubarb Gin and offers an alternative for those who do not like gin or who do not drink alcohol.  Children love it too although sometimes more when they are not told that it has rhubarb  in it!   There are many recipes for Rhubarb Cordial but this is the very simplest and requires minimal skill or time to make although you do need to leave it overnight before you can enjoy it.  It is very versatile and can be used to make non-alcoholic drinks or used as a flavouring in alcoholic cocktails.   It can also be used as a flavouring in cooking when making cakes and puddings.  As with the Rhubarb Gin, you can add additional flavours to your taste – some are suggested in the recipe but feel free to improvise!

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Rhubarb jam

Rhubarb Cordial

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 1 litre 1x
  • Category: Cordial
  • Cuisine: English

Description

Sweet and zesty Rhubarb Cordial is an easy way of capturing the flavour of rhubarb for use in drinks and food recipes.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 kg rhubarb stalks
  • 600 g caster sugar
  • 1 litre of water
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Ingredients (variations)

  • If you wish to try different flavours you could add one of the following additions: 1 vanilla pod  or other spices (cardamon and star anise go well with rhubarb) or 5 slices of fresh root ginger

Instructions

  1. Wash the rhubarb stalks thoroughly.  Cut into 3 cm pieces.
  2. Put the rhubarb pieces, sugar, water and lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to the boil.   Then allow to simmer for 10 minutes until the rhubarb is very soft.
  3. Take the saucepan off the heat and allow the mixture to cool.
  4. Strain the mushy juices through a muslin-lined funnel into a bowl or jug.  It takes a while for the juice to filter through and the process can be done overnight in your fridge.
  5. The juice that has filtered through the funnel is your Rhubarb Cordial and is ready to use.
  6. The Rhubarb Cordial will keep in a sterilised bottle in your fridge for around a month.  Alternatively, you can freeze it – best to do this in ice-cube trays – and it will keep for up to six months.

Notes

To sterilise your bottle, you can wash in warm soapy water, rinse thoroughly and then dry off for around 15 minutes in an oven set to 140C/120C fan/gas 1.

Rhubarb Cordial is very versatile and can be combined with soda or tonic to make a non-alcoholic drink or added to a glass of prosecco or added to gin or vodka as a flavouring for cocktails.  It can also be poured over vanilla ice-cream to make a quick pudding and used as a culinary ingredient to add flavour.

Keywords: rhubarb cordial

 

Rhubarb - pink and green and fresh
Rhubarb stems – beautiful!

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