Elderflower cordial is a refreshing and delicious drink, yet so few people seem to make their own. Elderflower grows in hedgerows along the sides of fields, but you may be lucky enough to have them in your garden. Don’t miss out on this early summer treat – pick them now while they’re still available and get making cordial!
- 2½ kgs of white sugar (granulated or caster)
- Two unwaxed lemons and an orange
- 20 fresh elderflower heads, with trimmed stalks
- 85g of citric acid (available from chemists)
- Put the sugar and 1.5 litres (2¾ pints) of water into a large saucepan and gently heat (without boiling) until it dissolves, stirring every now and again. Meanwhile, grate the zest from the lemons and set aside, then slice the lemons into rounds.
- Once the sugar has dissolved bring the saucepan of syrup to the boil and then turn off the heat. Fill a washing up bowl with cold water. Give the flower heads a gentle wash in a large bowl of cold water to remove any dirt or bugs, shake gently to dry and then place them in the syrup along with the lemons, lemon zest and citric acide, and stir well. Cover the pan and leave the lemon and elderflower flavours to infuse for 24 hours.
- Using a clean tea towel, line a colander and then sit it over a large bowl or pan. Ladle the syrup into the colander, letting it drip slowly through, before discarding the bits left in the towel.
- Sterilise some bottles by putting them in the dishwasher or washing them in soapy water and then leaving them to dry in the oven on a low temperature.
- Use a funnel and a ladle to fill the sterilised bottles with the elderflower syrup. The cordial is ready to drink immediately and will keep in the fridge for up to six weeks, or you can freeze it in plastic containers or ice cube trays and defrost it as required.