Homemade elderflower cordial

London will soon be decorated with blossoming elderflowers, with beautiful white flowers decorating our parks. But did you know you should pick them and bring them home to make your very own home made elderflower cordial? It’s time to go for a walk – with a basket on your arm.

Picking elderflowers is easy! And you should definetly do it as a family, allwoing the children to take part in the whole process. Elders burst into life at the end of May and flower through to the middle of June. The secret to making a well-flavoured cordial is to pick flowers on a sunny day before it gets too hot, then use as soon as possible. Choose the freshest-looking heads, frothy with creamy-white flowers.

2½ kg white sugar, either granulated or caster
2 unwaxed lemons
20 fresh elderflower heads, stalks trimmed
85g citric acid (from chemists)

1. Put the sugar and 1.5 litres/2¾ pints water into the largest saucepan you have. Gently heat, without boiling, until the sugar has dissolved. Give it a stir every now and again. Pare the zest from the lemons using a potato peeler, then slice the lemons into rounds.

2.Once the sugar has dissolved, bring the pan of syrup to the boil, then turn off the heat. Fill a washing up bowl with cold water. Give the flowers a gentle swish around to loosen any dirt or bugs. Lift flowers out, gently shake and transfer to the syrup along with the lemons, zest and citric acid, then stir well. Cover the pan and leave to infuse for 24 hrs.

3.Line a colander with a clean tea towel, then sit it over a large bowl or pan. Ladle in the syrup and let it drip slowly through. Discard the bits left in the towel. Use a funnel and a ladle to fill sterilised bottles (pre run glass bottles through the dishwasher. Rinse, then leave to dry in a low oven). The cordial is ready to drink straight away and will keep in the fridge for up to 6 weeks.

Tip: Freeze the Elderflower cordial in plastic containers or ice cube trays and defrost as needed.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, June 2010


The weather forecast as sort of promising sunny weather from this coming weekend (fingers crossed!). An opportunity to head out and get started on your cordial!

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