What’s the Idea?
Make this easy and delicious Elderflower Cordial recipe to enjoy on a hot, sunny day.
What’s the story
When I was young my mother and I would go walking across the fields to pick the elderflower blooms.
Then we would gather a large bagful of flowers to take back home.
Once home, we would wash the flowers before creating this wonderful, perfumed drink. What a treat!
My mum also told us about how the Elder tree is steeped in folklore and myth.
In fact, Elderflower Cordial dates back as far as Roman times.
Elderflowers supposedly marked the start of the English Summer, with the ripening elderberries marking the end.
Plus Elder twigs were collected on St John’s eve (just before mid-summer) to be used as a protection against bad luck.
In Ireland, witches rode elder sticks, not on broomsticks. And people believed witches turned themselves into elder trees.
People believed if you fell asleep under a flowering elder tree at midsummer you would be able to see the faeries on their way to their midsummer feast.
Even in Harry Potter, the most powerful wand was known as the “Elder Wand”
Most importantly however is that they smell and taste wonderful.
People should do this because…?
Elderflower Cordial contains no alcohol so is the perfect summer drink for the whole family.
Either add in plain or sparkling water for a cooling thirst quencher.
However, if you are feeling naughty, you can also add it to a gin and tonic which tastes amazing.
Picking elderflowers is a fun activity for parents and kids alike.
Just make sure you have permission from the owner of the tree or bush.
This elderflower cordial recipe is really easy to make and much cheaper than buying it from the supermarket.
The Elder plant has many health benefits and people use the berries and flowers in different ways.
For example, Elderflower extract is supposed to be good for sore throats and colds as well as being high in vitamin C.
How do you do it?
Before you start
Firstly, make sure you only pick fresh flower heads that are in full bloom and ideally full of pollen
Avoid any that are dried or old as they will be bitter.
Secondly, avoid picking flowers by busy roads as they will be polluted.
Thirdly, don’t forget to rinse them thoroughly under running water to remove any bugs or wash in a bowl.
And finally, prepare some bottles by sterilizing them.
You can do this by running glass bottles through your dishwasher, or by washing well in soapy water.
Then rinse well, then leave to dry in a low oven.
- 25 elderflower heads, stalks removed
- 1 kg of granulated sugar
- 2 litres of boiling water
- 80 g citric acid powder
- 2 unwaxed lemons sliced
- Tip the sugar into a large bowl or saucepan.
- Pour over the boiling water and stir until sugar is completely dissolved.
- Add the sliced lemons and the citric acid
- Then add the washed elderflowers.
- Cover the bowl or pan and leave to sit for 24-36 hrs.
- Line a large sieve or colander with a clean tea towel.
- Place this over a large bowl or pan.
- Pour or ladle the syrup in slowly allowing the liquid to drip through.
- Throw away the bits.
- Using a jug or ladle pour the cordial into your bottles
It’s ready to drink immediately but make sure you add water to dilute it.
Your homemade cordial will keep for up to 6 weeks in your fridge.
Or you can freeze it in ice cube trays to be used as needed. Perfect for a picnic!
Stuff you may need
- Bowl or large saucepan
- Clean tea towel or muslin cloth
- Large sieve or colander
- Zester or grater
- Wooden spoon for stirring
- Jug, ladle and a funnel