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!

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

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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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Elderflower Vinegar

Easy Elderflower Vinegar recipe

This recipe for Elderflower Vinegar is incredibly easy. In essence, you just have to combine fresh elderflowers with a light vinegar and leave for two weeks for the flavour to develop. At the end of this time, your vinegar will have the delicious floral scent of elderflowers and will keep indefinitely.

Elderflower vinegar
What you need to know about Elderflower Vinegar
  • The time to make this vinegar 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.
  • These are the key points to remember when you are picking your elderflowers. They 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 when making flavoured vinegar, which is strained and has antiseptic properties, but the choice is yours.
  • You can choose any kind of good quality light vinegar to make this recipe. I generally use either white wine vinegar or cider vinegar. However, you can also use rice vinegar. Malt vinegar is too harsh and is not suitable for this recipe.
  • Although it is a matter of minutes to combine the elderflowers with the vinegar, you need to allow two weeks for the flavour to develop. During that time, keep the jar at room temperature, shake it occasionally to ensure the ingredients are combined. If any of the elderflowers are not covered by the vinegar, push them under the surface.
Elderflower vinegar
Uses for Elderflower Vinegar

Elderflower Vinegar can be used as a substitute for non-flavoured vinegar in recipes where its distinctive floral aroma will enhance the taste of the finished dish. I use it in two main ways but I am sure there are lots of others and I would love to hear from anyone who has used it in other ways.

  • I use Elderflower Vinegar is to make a simple vinaigrette salad dressing. Put 50 ml of vinegar and 150 ml of olive oil in a jar together with a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of honey. Close the lid on the jar and shake it for a couple of minutes to combine all the ingredients. I generally use the vinaigrette with salads that contain fruit especially strawberries or melon. Simply combine some green salad leaves, some sliced strawberries or melon and maybe a few cubs of feta and add the dressing.
  • Sprinkling balsamic vinegar onto fresh strawberries is an excellent way of bringing out their flavour. I think using sweetened Elderflower Vinegar is better. I mix 50 ml of vinegar with two teaspoons of honey or sugar and then sprinkle it over the strawberries. You can either eat right away or leave for half an hour so that the vinegar will draw out the delicious strawberry juices.

Loved this recipe? Checkout the Recipe Index.

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.

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Elderflower vinegar

Elderflower Vinegar

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5 minutes plus 2 weeks to mature
  • Yield: 500 ml 1x
  • Category: Vinegar
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This easy Elderflower Vinegar is a fantastic way of capturing the floral flavour of fresh elderflowers.  Use it in dressings and as a condiment in sweet and savoury dishes.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 500 ml (17 fluid oz) vinegar (eg white wine, cider or rice wine vinegar)
  • 4 heads of fresh elderflower

Instructions

  1. Check that the elderflowers are free from insects.   You can wash your elderflowers if you wish.   However, to ensure a stronger flavour, it is better not to wash them.
  2. Put the elderflowers into a jam jar and cover with the vinegar.  You may need to push them down a bit to ensure that they are completely covered by the vinegar.
  3. Cover the jar with a lid and leave for two weeks for the vinegar to mature at room temperature.   Check every day or so to ensure that the flowers are still covered by the vinegar.
  4. After two weeks, strain the vinegar to remove the elderflowers.  The easiest way to do this is to pour it through a sieve lined with a piece of clean muslin.
  5. The flavoured vinegar will keep indefinitely in a lidded jar or bottle.

Notes

You can easily increase the quantities in this recipe.  The ratio is 4 elderflower heads for each 500 ml of vinegar

Keywords: vinegar, elderflower

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with Apply to Face Blog and #Fiesta Friday with Fiesta Friday.

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Gooseberry and Elderflower Sorbet

Elderflower Sorbet

Elderflower and Gooseberry Sorbet

Gooseberry and Elderflower Sorbet

This Gooseberry and Elderflower Sorbet uses my home-made Muscat Syrup as a base.   I make the Muscat Syrup to accompany desserts, such as  Elderflower Pannacotta,  but often have some left over.

On the basis of “waste not, want not”, I thought I would try making the left over Muscat Syrup into a sorbet and the result was fantastic – a balance of tart and sweet with a lovely gooseberry flavour  enhanced by the fragrance of elderflowers.   Now I will sometimes make the syrup specifically to create the sorbet!

In order to make the Muscat Syrup into a sorbet, you need to dilute it with some water and add some lemon juice, otherwise it will be too sweet.   That is all you need to do to make the syrup into a sorbet – except freezing it, of course.

Elderflower and Gooseberry Sorbet
Gooseberries

Equipment

Ice-cream maker  – This recipe is a breeze using an but you can still make it if you don’t have one (see instructions below)

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Gooseberry Sorbet

Gooseberry and Elderflower Sorbet

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: for 6 people 1x
  • Category: Ice-cream
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This cooling Gooseberry and Elderflower Sorbet is sweet and refreshing on a hot summer’s day.


Ingredients

Scale

Ingredients:  For the Muscat Syrup

  • 250 g green gooseberries
  • 250 g  caster sugar
  • 4 tbs water
  • 4 elderflower blooms

Ingredients:  To make the Muscat Syrup into  Gooseberry and Elderflower Sorbet

  • For 600 ml of Syrup, an additional 200 ml of water (that is, add one third quantity of water to syrup)
  • Juice of half a lemon

Instructions

Method – Muscat Syrup

  1. Put the gooseberries in a saucepan – there is no need to “top and tail” them.  Add the sugar and water and cook over a low heat until the gooseberries are soft.
  2. Take the pan off the heat and add the elderflower blooms.
  3. Allow the syrup to cool.  The flavour of the elderflower blooms will diffuse into the syrup.
  4. When cool, strain the syrup through a sieve into a jug or bowl.

Method – To make the Muscat Syrup into Gooseberry and Elderflower Sorbet

  1. Dilute the syrup with water – one third water to two thirds syrup.
  2. Add juice of half a lemon.
  3. Transfer the sorbet mixture to the fridge to become thoroughly chilled.
  4. When you are ready to make the sorbet, transfer to your ice-cream maker and use according to your machine’s instructions.  If you do not have an ice-cream maker, you can place the mixture in a freezer-proof container, put in the freezer for several hours until half-frozen.  Whisk the mixture and then return to the container and replace in the freezer until totally frozen.

Keywords: gooseberry and elderflower sorbet, gooseberry, elderflower, sorbet

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Elderflower Ice-cream

Easy homemade Elderflower Ice Cream recipe

I make Elderflower Ice Cream using my standard ice cream recipe.  I use this to make many different flavours of ice cream but  Elderflower Ice Cream is one of my favourites.  It has a wonderful floral creaminess which is perfect eaten in the garden on a sunny English summer day. I think my Lemon Biscuits go very well with my Elderflower Ice-cream but you could serve it with fresh berries – or just on its own!

To make my Elderflower Ice-cream, I use Elderflower Cordial to add the flavour, rather than fresh elderflowers, which means that you can make this recipe at any time of the year.  However, for me, this is an early summer recipe.  I make my own home-made Elderflower Cordial and you can find the link to the recipe here.   However, there are lots of great ready-made versions available  in supermarkets now.

You only need the egg yolks for this recipe which means you will have spare egg whites.  As I hate waste, I pretty much always make Meringues when I make ice-cream as, very conveniently, my Meringue recipe requires four egg whites.

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.

  • Fresh Elderflower Cordial – very easy to make with fresh elderflowers and can be diluted as a drink and also used as a flavouring in other recipes.
  • 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.
  • Easy Elderflower Vinegar – floral flavoured vinegar which is brilliant in summer salad dressings or drizzled over fresh strawberries.
  • 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.
Other home-made ice cream recipes

I am a great home-made ice cream enthusiast. I make it in the summer, of course, but am happy to eat it in winter too! There are some brilliant, shop-bought ice creams available but it is so easy to make your own. I like to experiment with flavours and some of my other ice cream recipes are listed below.

Easy homemade Elderflower Ice Cream recipe

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Elderflower Ice-cream

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 5
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Category: Ice Cream
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This quick and easy homemade Elderflower Ice Cream recipe is the perfect summer dessert.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 85 g (3 oz) caster sugar
  • 425 ml (15 fl oz) double cream
  • 4 tablespoons Elderflower Cordial

Instructions

  1. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a bowl until the mixture looks paler and resembles a mousse.
  2. Put the cream in a saucepan and heat gently. Do not allow to boil – it will be the right temperature when you are just about able to bear to dip a finger in it!
  3. Add the Elderflower Cordial to the cream.
  4. Pour the cream into the bowl containing the egg yolks and sugar, whisking all the time.
  5. Transfer the combined mixture into a bowl set over a pan of simmering water or, ideally a double-boiler, as you need to reheat it very gently.
  6. The mixture will gradually thicken until it looks like a custard (which is what it is).  Stir regularly to make sure it does not stick while it is thickening.
  7. Remove the thick custard from the heat and transfer into a bowl.  Allow to cool to room temperature and then transfer to the fridge to become thoroughly chilled.
  8. When you are ready to make the ice-cream, transfer to your ice-cream maker and use according to your machine’s instructions.  If you do not have an ice-cream maker, you can place the mixture in a freezer-proof container, put in the freezer for several hours until half-frozen.  Whisk the mixture and then return to the container and replace in the freezer until totally frozen.

Keywords: elderflower, ice cream

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Elderflower Pannacotta with Muscat Syrup

Elderflower and pannacotta

Beautiful Elderflower Pannacotta with Muscat Syrup

Elderflower Pannacotta with Muscat Syrup

Elderflower Pannacotta

This recipe for Elderflower Pannacotta is based on one by Stevie Parle  although I make it without the addition of eau de vie and make individual pannacotta moulds rather than one big one.  Parle’s recipe suggests an accompaniment of strawberries, which do go very well with it, but I prefer to serve it with Muscat Syrup.

Creamy and light Pannacotta is a lovely summer dessert.  It is great for dinner parties as it looks beautiful, can be made in individual portions and can be made the day before.    This recipe uses fresh elderflowers to flavour the pannacotta.  If you don’t have access to these, you can make it using 2 tablespoons Elderflower Cordial instead and halving the amount of sugar to 50 g.  If you do not reduce the amount of sugar, your pannacotta will be too sweet.

Muscat Syrup
Gooseberries and elderflowers

Muscat Syrup

Muscat Syrup is a beautiful summer syrup, flavoured with gooseberries and elderflowers, which are a classic combination – both because they are in season at around the same time and because their tastes compliment and enhance each other.   The recipe for Muscat Syrup is based on one in the brilliant book “” by Geraldene Holt, which dates back to the 1980s, and is one of my favourite cookery books, beautifully designed and produced, with fantastic recipes.

My recipe also uses fresh elderflowers.  Again, if you don’t have access to these, you can substitute 2 tablespoons of Elderflower Cordial and reduce the sugar to 200 g.

Muscat Syrup and Pannacotta
Gooseberries and Elderflowers

Equipment

Muscat Syrup and Pannacotta
Gooseberries and Elderflowers

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Elderflowers and gooseberries

Elderflower Pannacotta with Muscat Syrup

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: for 4 people 1x
  • Category: Pannacotta
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This Elderflower Pannacotta, with gooseberry-flavoured Muscat Syrup is a fantastic show-stopping dessert for an early summer dinner party.


Ingredients

Scale

For the Elderflower Pannacotta:

  • 4 sheets gelatin
  • 200 ml milk
  • 400 ml double cream
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 20 elderflowers

For the Muscat Syrup:

  • 250 g green gooseberries
  • 250 g  caster sugar
  • 4 tbs water
  • 4 elderflower blooms

Instructions

Method –   Elderflower Pannacotta

  1. Put the milk and cream into a saucepan and heat to simmering point.  Add the sugar and the elderflowers and cook gently for 10 minutes.
  2. Strain the mixture through a sieve lined with muslin or kitchen paper to remove the elderflowers.
  3. Soak the sheets of gelatin in warm water until soft.
  4. Add the softened sheets of gelatin to the infused milk and cream mixture and stir until dissolved.
  5. Pour the mixture into four dariole moulds.
  6. Put the moulds in the the fridge for at least 4 hours or, ideally, overnight until set.
  7. When ready to eat, dip the moulds briefly in a bowl of warm water,  making sure the pannacotta does not get wet.  Up-turn each of the moulds over a serving plate to release the pannacotta.
  8. I serve Elderflower Pannacotta with a puddle of Muscat Syrup on the plate (and more in a jug on the table) but any fresh summer berries such as  strawberries or raspberries are also a good accompaniment.

Method – Muscat Syrup

  1. Put the gooseberries in a saucepan – there is no need to “top and tail” them.  Add the sugar and water and cook over a low heat until the gooseberries are soft.
  2. Take the pan off the heat and add the elderflower blooms.
  3. Allow the syrup to cool.  The flavour of the elderflower blooms will diffuse into the syrup.
  4. When cool, strain the syrup through a sieve into a jug or bowl.

Keywords: elderflower pannacotta, muscat syrup, gooseberries

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