If you haven’t picked any elderflowers to make a cordial yet, you should do so now before it is too late. It has been warm and sunny and so a stroll in the countryside is no chore! Just bring a bag or basket with you and get picking!
Elderflower cordial is certainly popular in the UK and our enjoyment goes back to the Victorian times. However, a similar drink can be traced back to the Roman times and is now enjoyed through out what used to be the Roman territory.
I remember picking flowers, as well as the berries later in the year, with my mum when I was little. She would then make cordials, vinegars and a thick elderberry syrup to be enjoyed in the winter months to stave of colds by strengthening the immune system. It is amazing how a smell can remind you of such wonderful times from your childhood!
Cordial is amazingly easy to make:
You need about 25 elderflower heads per litre of water. Clean your flowers gently in cold water to get rid of any unwanted passengers and place them in a large sauce pan.
Pour boiling water over the flowers and leave them to steep. I like to add a halved lemon, lime and orange (or you can just use 3 lemons) – just squeeze the juices in with the flowers and chuck the fruit in as well.
Leave to steep for 24 hours and then strain.
You then need to add sweetener – 750g sugar or honey or maple syrup and coconut sugar to taste.
Bring this to boil, and leave for 2 minutes, making sure the sugar has dissolved. Pour this through a funnel into preserved bottles with a security seal and close whilst still hot!
Ways to use up your cordial:
Try adding to champagne for an Elderflower bellini or to sparkling water for a non-alcoholic beverage. Elderflower flavour also works well in gin and tonic.
Edlerflower works well with Gooseberries – here is a zingy Syllabub recipe
Try adding to your meringues for a healthier version: Meringues and Elderflower or just reduce to a thick syrup by boiling and pour over ice-cream!