Mid-summer is just around the corner (the longest day was yesterday and now the nights are beginning to lengthen again – perish the thought!) Our gardens are in full bloom and the hedgerows are still lined with white lacy elderflower bushes. I’m just in time to make my elderflower cordial this year – I live in the Midlands. If you live further north you may be lucky into early July – further south and you possibly may need to wait until next year.
A great alternative to clambering through the hedgerows and brewing up your home-made cordial (satisfying as it is) is to search out Belvoir Cordial’s elderflower. A local Lincolnshire company their various cordials are excellent – including their elderflower. I was asked to create two recipes for them this summer, Elderflower Orange and Passion Fruit Layer Cake & Mini-elderflower and Lemon Loaf Cakes (Gluten free).
Elderflower Cordial Recipe
Makes about 1.3 litres
To check elderflowers are in their prime, shake them; the little flowers should stay on the branches.
- 20 fresh elderflower heads
- 600g granulated or caster sugar
- 25g citric acid
- 3 large unwaxed lemons, sliced
- Shake the elderflowers to dislodge any resident insects and remove the larger stems, as they will affect the flavour. Bring 1 litre of water to a boil, add the sugar and stir to ensure it is all dissolved. Cool for about 15 minutes, then add the elderflowers, citric acid and lemons, give it a good stir, cover and leave for 24 hours for the flavours to mingle.
- Dampen either a sheet of muslin, a clean J-cloth or a tea towel with boiling water, wring dry and use it to line a sieve. If you are keeping the cordial for a month or two, you will need to sterilise some glass screw-topped bottles: rinse them out thoroughly, then place them upside down in the dishwasher and run a full cycle. Or preheat the oven to 140°C/fan 130°C/275°F/gas mark 1. Stand the clean, empty bottles (without lids) in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove, allow to cool, then strain the cordial into the bottles. Store in the fridge.
1. Elderflower picked from 2. Elderflowers in the pan 3. Elderflower cordial the hedgerow Glasses and straws from Party Pieces. (Add a generous splash to sparkling or still water or Prosecco).