Sunday, 13 June 2010

Homemade Elderflower Cordial

Yay, it's that time of year again that our gorgeous Elder tree blooms heavily with hundreds of fragrant flower heads.  Elderflower cordial makes a really refreshing drink. Use enough cordial to sparkling or soda water to taste and with plenty of ice and some mint sprigs if you fancy too. It is also delicious with a swig of gin or vodka or added to bubbly. Also use the cordial to make jellies, sorbet or ice-cream or use it to sweeten gooseberries or rhubarb. When our friends were here with us last week we got the kids to help out making our first batch of the summer. Here's what we did...

Makes about 2.75L 

(you will need enough stopper or screw topped bottles to take this amount)

2kg caster or granulated sugar
1.2L water

about 40-50 freshly picked elderflower heads
3 unwaxed lemons
75g citric acid*

- Stir the sugar and water together well in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Bring very slowly to the boil stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. 
- Meanwhile, gently rinse the elderflower heads to get rid of any bugs and pick off any leaves or brown flowers. Place the flowers in a really large bowl or bucket.
- Using a peeler or small knife to shave a few pieces of zest from each of the lemons and stir them through the sugar syrup. Thickly slice the lemons and scatter them over the flower heads.
- Stir the citric acid into the sugar syrup until dissolved and then carefully pour the mixture over the flowers and lemon slices. Stir everything together to make sure it is well immersed. Cover and leave in a cool dry place to soak for 24 hours.
- After this time, you are ready to finish and bottle. It's important to sterilise the storage bottles (to avoid any nasty growths) so wash them in hot water and then dry them out in a low oven (about 170C) for about 15 minutes (or alternatively, run them through a hot dishwasher without powder).
- Strain the soaking flowers through a very fine sieve lined with a piece of clean muslin, j-cloth or coffee filter into a large jug. Squeeze out as much of the syrup as possible from the flowers (but not so much the lemon slices) so as not to waste a drop!
- Then the easiest way to bottle the cordial is though a funnel. Then pop the lids on tightly and store in a cool dry place for a few months (although some people say up to a year - just keep a check out for any fur!). It can be frozen too but perhaps use smaller bottles so you can defrost a little at a time and use plastic instead of glass bottles (leaving a good gap from the top to allow for expansion on freezing). Once opened it should be stored in the fridge.

* The citric acid in the recipe helps preserve the cordial. It can be bought in pharmacies or health food stores (but you might have to search a few as not all stores sell it - it is said to be used by junkies also!). Read the label carefully as it can cause irritation to the skin if not handled correctly. A bottle of cordial is an ideal gift to give to friends. 


Anonymous said...

The cordial looks yummy & so beautifully packaged,must try to make my own x

Designermmg said...

omg is that a year gone already... and look you have the garden shed done... so much has happened this year. i got my city and guilds photography tooooo woo hoo me...anyway will have to give this a go this year,,, left it tooo long last year... love the phtos getting very soon i hope...x x x x

Lilly Higgins said...

Ah Sharon! You beat me to it! Elderflower cordial was next on my list of things to make! looks gorgeous and I love the pretty tags.The shed is so lovely blue too. Great to see ye on Saturday! I was relieved to see your smiling faces up at me! Xxx

Lorna said...

I remember making this at a friend's house as a teenager, yep, am going to try it, will let you know how I get on. We used to drink it after the 24 hours though :-)

Lorraine said...

Sounds delicious! I've just managed to identify what elederflowers look like! Off to find some citric acid then today :)

Brownieville Girl said...

I have just come across your blog - it is really fantastic. You are really, really talented :-}}}

Looking forward to reading all the back posts!

Shaheen said...

I love the way you've garnished the glasses. Stunning.

Happy Harris said...

oh honey - this is soooo devine! lovely photos clever girly :) I hope you and Marty are well :)

I love the way you have decorated the bottles...complete gorgeousness!

Love Happy xx

PS, Just a centre larger piccies...align them 'left' and then they should lay centrally :) xx

Lucie said...

Your cordial looks wonderful - so elegant. Love your blog! Lucie x

Nilesh said...

I’m just seeing this post for the first time. Thank you so much for mentioning me. What a great feeling. Thanks again!

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Travel With Lulu said...

I just stumbled across your wonderful blog. I just moved to the UK and didn't know what to do with Pimms I'd seen at the store until now! I'm now a follower : )


inspiremyhousepretty said...

hello totally missing my friendly cottage blogs!!!!!...been checking daily but still no updates, hope you are all safe and well:)

M´ (Emilinha!) said...

Hi! I´m from Brazil. I found out your blog this afternoon and I loved! Congrats guys! Everything is really adorable :)

Nenaghgal said...

I just love elderflower cordial - lovely photos and so good to have the recipe. Keep up the fun posts.