Saturday, 7 June 2014

Easy Elderflower Cordial

Making elderflower cordial reminds me a bit of the 'flower soup' the kids used to give me - you know, mixed up water, petals and stalks, and the odd, suspicious-looking black speck with legs...
The elderflower version is obviously way more appealing; but it is just about as easy to make as flower soup.

I saw loads of elderflower on the drive back from Norwich, waving at me from the roadside, so I took the youngest foraging when we got home, and we managed to fill a bag in minutes.

Best to pick it when it's fresh and bursting with that distinctive elderflower aroma - late May early June is the time in the South, but the season can go on till July if you live further North.


It took me a little longer to get some citric acid. I’m sure it used to be easier to find - the places I tried in town didn’t have any, so I bought a bag online, misjudged the quantity (again), and now appear to have enough to go into production! Personally I don’t like too much of a citric acid taste, but I wasn’t won over by the cordial without it either. So I’ve done a bit of fiddle-faddling with the basic recipe.  I’ve also reduced the amount of sugar - there’s a scary amount of sugar in cordial, a whole kilo in this one usually, and though I kind of knew that, it’s different seeing a mountain of sugar piled high in a bowl, before you pour in the boiling water and it ‘disappears’.


So for mine you'll need:


about 30 flower heads
4 lemons
1.5 litres boiling water
750g sugar
40g citric acid

Put the sugar in a heatproof bowl, pour over the boiling water and stir until it dissolves.


When cool, grate in the zest of the lemons, then slice them up and tip in with the citric acid. (I like to squeeze in the juice of half of one of the lemons)


Add the flower heads (after a decent shake) and give it all a good stir.


Cover with a clean cloth and leave to steep for 48 hours.


Drain through a clean muslin, and funnel into sterilised bottles (to sterilise, rinse in the dishwasher or wash the bottles in warm, soapy water, put them on a baking tray and pop in the oven set at 120 degrees C for about 20 minutes. Steep the lids in a cup of boiling water for 5 minutes)


Store in a cool, dark place, and the cordial should last a few weeks. You can freeze it too, in plastic bottles. 

Dilute with still or sparkling water.

It can be pretty expensive to buy, so why not have a go at making your own elderflower soup?








18 comments:

  1. My aunt makes this and I can confirm it is delicious, I think she got her citric acid from a health food shop. Lovely pics Tracey.

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    1. Should have gone to the Health Food shop! Why didn't I do that? Wouldn't have ended up with industrial quantities! Just tried Chemists because that's where I'd bought it before. Anyway, won't be needing to get more for a while! Thanks Fiona x

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  2. Every year I plan to make elderflower cordial and every year I forget! Did make elderberry cordial last year, but something of an acquired taste....

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    1. never tried that, and have to say I was the same as you about making elderflower cordial for ages, then started and haven't stopped! So easy and delicious :)

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  3. Delicious! I'm definitely going to see if we can find some elderflowers still flowering around here now so my boys can have a try! (Elderflower champagne is pretty good too!!) #CountryKids

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    1. will have to try elderflower champagne!

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  4. This takes me back. We used to make elderflower champagne too. It’s quite explosive though; I seem to remember an anecdote about my M-I-L making it and quite a few of the bottles popping prematurely.

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    1. I just had a look at the River cottage elderflower champagne recipe and the first comment from someone who'd tried it was about exploding bottles - glass everywhere apparently! Not feeling so keen now!

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  5. I'm stunned it doesn't ferment enough to become alcoholic - but the taste isjust gorgeous. It always reminds me of spring :)

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    1. that's a lovely way of putting it! Such a refreshing drink :)

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  6. My husband loves buying bottles & bottles of this! I want to try doing it as he loves it but I still need to find some flowers! Thanks for sharing. #countrykids

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    1. Hope you find some! I'm sure you will - maybe because I'm thinking about elderflower I'm seeing it everywhere at the moment!

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  7. Such a quick and simple recipe for some great homemade cordial, thanks for linking up and sharing with Country Kids.

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    1. really is so easy to make! Thanks Fiona :)

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  8. I heard that a lot of places don't stock citric acid becuase it's used to cut some class A drugs... Our chemist always used to have it in around now for the elderflower cordial making. Actually haven't seen much elderflower round here :-(

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    1. Ahh, now I was wondering why the Chemists didn't have any this year…
      Shame about the lack of elderflower round you, is it less prolific near the coast?

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    2. I don't know - I haven't been out and about as much recently here - the dog is poorly and infectius (kennel cough) so he's been housebound and I've been lazy... I should find out.

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  9. Delicious! The taste of elderflower will always remind me of living in Denmark, they use it in everything over there! :)

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