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:
1.5 litres boiling water
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?
Linking up with Country Kids from Coombe Mill