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Elderflower Cordial

Elderflower cordial infusing

Elderflower cordial infusing

My daughter planted an elderflower in her garden late spring of 2015 hopeful of having a huge flush of the delicately scented flower heads with which to make cordial. Not much happened for close to 12 months then it was if the little bush suddenly felt at home and decided to grow. Now Leah has more elderflowers than she can use.

The only experience I have with the flavour of elderflower is drinking the cordial that’s sold by Ikea and that alone misled me into thinking it preferred to grow in a cooler climate so I was very surprised when I was offered a bag of freshly cut blooms. I’ve since read it’s very adaptable to Australian conditions.

Diana Henry has a recipe for elderflower cordial in her marvellous book about preserving called “Smoke, Sugar, Salt.” She offers some sage advice about picking the blooms when dry, then wasting no time before processing the flowers as the flavour will deteriorate into an unpalatable pungency if they are stored for even a short time.

My first batch made to Henry’s recipe, quartered, was pleasant, although it was more lemon than elderflower in flavour. My flower heads were on the smallish size.

When Leah offered me more flowers I jumped at the chance to try again. Even though these heads were bigger I increased the ratio of elderflower to sugar syrup and citrus. After bottling, this batch is much more assertive.

This is a refreshing drink made 1 part cordial over ice, topped with 10 parts soda water.

Elderflower Cordial

8 large heads of freshly opened elderflowers

250mls water

250g castor sugar

1 lemon

18g citric acid

Shake the flower heads to dislodge any bugs then snip the small bunches away from the thick stems. Discard the stems.

Put the flowers into a bowl.

Use a vegetable peeler to take the zest off the lemon in long wide strips then slice the fruit thickly.

Add the lemon to the bowl with the flowers.

Put the water and sugar together in a small pot. Bring the pot to the boil stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved.

Add the citric acid and stir to dissolve.

Pour the hot syrup over the elderflowers, pushing the flowers into the syrup to submerge them. After a few minutes they will collapse.

Cover the bowl and set the syrup aside to infuse for 24 hours.

The next day strain the syrup through a fine sieve then pour it into a sterilised bottle and store in the fridge.

About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

28 comments on “Elderflower Cordial

  1. dunelight
    March 6, 2017

    Ah…homemade St. Germain. I wish you were closer, I’d like to try yours!
    My husband hates this liqueur but to me, it’s elderflowers taste of summer…and that makes me happy. I guess it’s an acquired taste.

    Now May Wine…with sweet woodruff? No.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 6, 2017

      Woodruff is not something I’m familiar with, going to look it up. The elderflower is delicious

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Liz Posmyk of Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things
    February 12, 2017

    Oh nice. Bookmarking this for later. My elderflower bush is doing quite nicely x

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      February 12, 2017

      It’s really refreshing Liz, hope you get leads of flowers

      Like

  3. Conor Bofin
    January 30, 2017

    Lovely Sandra. However, I will have to wait for six months for some elderflower on this side of the world.

    Like

  4. I am planning a garden near the coast in northern California and an elderberry is on my plant list. I haven’t seen them growing here but will give it a try. Sounds wonderful.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      January 29, 2017

      If we can do it so can you. Interesting to hear they flourish on the roadside verges in the UK. Standby by for elderberry experiments…

      Like

  5. Gretchen
    January 28, 2017

    This is a staple in our house! We have several elderflower bushes and look forward to their blooms each year. I also add blooms to gin with either lemon or orange.

    Like

  6. Debi @ My Kitchen Witch
    January 27, 2017

    You had me chuckling when you said that Leah actually planted a bush. They grow like weeds in the UK and I don’t think anyone actually plants them on purpose! 😀 I really love elderflower cordial and I agree with you that Diane Henry’s recipe is a bit more on the lemon side. You can also make it with orange. My father-in-law used to make elderflower champagne which is marvellous, but I haven’t been adventurous enough to try it. Perhaps one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Leah
      January 27, 2017

      OMG…Debi you had me at Champagne! I’m sure that Lady Red Specs and I could put our heads together to try making champagne if the plant is co-operative enough to produce the fruit. As for planting it…I’ve never seen it growing here so I bought the bush on a whim because I love elderflower cordial but its very expensive to buy here. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Francesca
    January 27, 2017

    That’s interesting Sandra. I wonder if it would grow down here in St Andrews.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      January 27, 2017

      I did a bit of reading about Elder, and I think it would probably flourish in St Andrews. On line sources day it’s very adaptable.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Linda Duffin
    January 27, 2017

    Home-made is so much nicer than bought. A lovely summer drink.

    Like

  9. Leah
    January 26, 2017

    The good news is, the plant is starting to bloom again so there may be another batch out of the bush before the season is over. Like the idea of an elderflower wine… xxx

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      January 27, 2017

      Yippee. Maybe we need to let the blooms develop into berries….XX

      Liked by 1 person

      • Leah
        January 27, 2017

        I’ll leave the flowers on and see what we get. Last time I think we just lost the blooms when they started to get old.

        Like

  10. Sue
    January 26, 2017

    Ah, my mother used to make elderflower cordial, and very good it was too…

    Like

  11. Ardys
    January 26, 2017

    How interesting. The only Elder-anything I was ever exposed to was wine that my Grandfather made, but he used the berries. I presume they are from the same plant, but I have no idea. He was not one to drink alcohol but he would have a tipple of that ‘for medicinal purposes’ he said. My Grandmother was an abstainer and not impressed, although she did use whiskey in her eggnog at Christmas! So funny to think back at those times. Thanks for the reminder, Sandra, enjoy your brew.

    Like

  12. katechiconi
    January 26, 2017

    That would be like a taste of my childhood – we had heaps of elderflower bushes, and the cordial from the flowers for the summer and then from the berries for the winter (with ginger and cinnamon) was a permanent feature in our pantry.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      January 27, 2017

      Kate I’m very surprised at how this bush is flourishing in Brisbane’s heat and humidity. I guess you have to leave the flowers on the bush to get berries, but it sounds like another elder exploration worth following up..

      Like

      • katechiconi
        January 27, 2017

        You need a bush for flowers and another one for berries… I’ll send you Ma’s recipe for the elderberry cordial, definitely worth a try!

        Like

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This entry was posted on January 26, 2017 by in Cooking, Food, Fruit Juice Cordial, Preserves, recipes and tagged , , , , .
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