The elderflowers are out! Well they have been for a couple of weeks already which means they won't be out for much longer. Every year I look out for them and they disappear as fast as they arrive, so you have to be quick! Once they are here though I know summer is definitely here and it has been glorious!
There are a few things you can do with elderflowers but I think cordial is one of the easiest and best. It is so refreshing and you can drink it plain with water, sparkling water, white wine, gin and tonic, Prosecco or Champagne for a lovely refreshing summer drink. You can add it to your baking, cakes, puddings and jelly! So many uses :-)
I have read that the best time to pick elderflowers is early in the morning on a dry warm day. To be honest I haven't always followed this and my cordial has turned out fine. I am sure it will be even better if you do stick to this but don't stress too much!
You will need about 20 heads of elderflowers for the cordial. Gemma from Stay and Roam has written a lovely post on how to identify elderflowers if you aren't sure what they are.
When you go foraging make sure you don't pick anything on a main road, the further away from car fumes the better. Also remember to take some scissors, a bag or basket and a walking stick or long umbrella with a hooked handle so that you pull down those taller branches.
Homemade Elderflower Cordial Recipe
You will need 5-6 750ml sterilised glass bottles (or enough bottles to hold 4 litres), a very large saucepan, a colander and a muslin or clean dish towel and a funnel to pour the mixture into your bottles. Karon from Larder Love has written a lovely post on sterilising jars and bottles.
20 heads of Elderflower, flowers trimmed from the larger stalks
2.5 Kg White Sugar
2 Unwaxed Lemons, skin (zest) peeled into strips with a peeler and lemons cut into slices
85g Citric Acid
In a large saucepan add the sugar to 1.5 litres water and heat gently, stirring occasionally until all of the sugar has dissolved.
Once the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat and bring to the boil and then turn off the heat.
Fill a bowl or basin with water and wash the flowers to remove any bugs or dirt.
Remove the flowers from the water, shaking off any excess water and add them to the syrup along with the citric acid, lemon slices and lemon zest and stir well.
Cover the saucepan and leave to infuse for 24 hours.
Line a colander with a muslin or a clean dish towel and sit over a large bowl. Slowly add a ladle at a time of the mixture and allow it to slowly drip through the cloth.
Discard any bits left in the cloth/ muslin.
Using a funnel and your ladle pour the strained cordial into your sterilised glass bottles.
You can drink your cordial straight away or keep it in the fridge for about 6 weeks.
You can also pour it into ice cubes and freeze until needed.