Ever since we moved in I’ve been cutting back the Elderflower bush under our kitchen window. I didn’t actually realise it was elderflower for a while, I just knew that it grows at an amazing rate and has a bad habit of blocking out the light.
Since I began suspecting it might be Elderflower I have been wanting to use the blooms in something. I love Elderflower cordial, especially when it’s mixed with apple juice and lemonade, so I decided to have a go at making some. Last night I collected some of the flowers and had potter around the internet for recipes. I already knew it would need lemons and sugar, I had forgotten the option of citric acid as a preservative. After reading several variations on a theme I decided to do the following.
20 Elderflower heads 1kg Castor sugar
3 Unwaxed lemons
1 heaped tsp Citric Acid (available from most chemists)
- Shake the Elderflower heads to remove any insects – I chose to rinse mine as it felt wrong not to but none of the recipes I read included this and I wonder if it will remove some of the flavour?
- One recipe recommended using a fork to remove the flowers from the stems, preventing a bitter taste, I tried this with about half my flower heads but felt it left too many flowers behind so the rest stayed on their stalks.
- Boil 1.5L of water then add to the sugar in a large pan.
- Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
- Zest the 3 lemons and add this to the pan, then slice the lemons thickly.
- Allow the mixture to cool a little before adding the lemons.
- Add the citric acid
- Finally add the Elderflowers and cover the solution with a cloth.
- Leave to infuse for at least 24hrs
- Strain the mixture through a fine muslin cloth.
- Place in sterilised bottles leaving an inch or so room at the top.
I am recycling old Pasata bottles and using them straight from the dishwasher.
Once made the cordial should keep (unopened) for a good few months if stored in cool dark conditions. Alternatively you could always freeze it. To drink dilute to taste with water / lemonade / apple juice or similar using at least a 5:1 ratio.