The Elderflower season is short, late May to the latest, mid-July if you live in the the north or Scotland. The heavily scented flowers make a wonderful, refreshing drink which, when stored in sterilised bottles will keep for several weeks.
A word of warning: if you are out collecting Elderflowers, make sure you have permission to pick them and never pick flowers from trees on roadsides as they may be tainted with petrol fumes.
Though the cordial does make a refreshing drink, it is also useful in many different recipes too.
Top Tips for Making Elderflower Cordial
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Steeping of flowers: 48 hours
Total Time: 48 hours, 40 minutes
- 1k /2 ¼ lbs sugar
- 1.5 litres / 6 cups boiling water
- 4 medium lemons, washed
- 30 large Elderflower heads, shake to remove any insects
- 55g / 2 oz citric acid (available from a chemist
- Place the sugar into a large saucepan/stockpot or a large Pyrex bowl. Pour the boiling water over and stir until all the sugar has dissolved and leave to cool.
- Grate the rind of the lemons with a fine grater, add to the sugar water.
- Slice the lemons into thick slices and add to the water. Add the citric acid and stir, then finally add the flower heads to the water and stir again.
- Cover with a clean cloth and leave to steep for 48 hours.
- Strain through clean fine muslin cloth into a clean bowl.
- Using a funnel, fill sterilized bottles (see note below). Seal and store in a cool, dark place (not the refrigerator) for a few weeks or freeze in plastic bottles to keep for longer (see note below).
Once a bottle is opened store in the refrigerator.
Note To sterilize the bottles , rinse in the dishwasher, or place in a medium hot oven (300°F/150°C) until the bottles are warmed through but not red-hot.
If you want your Elderflower Cordial to last longer than a few weeks you will need to preserve the cordial by sterilising in a water bath. Not as difficult as it sounds and you can see the method in my Top Tips for Making Elderflower Cordial