This is a fragrant, lemony and not too sweet cordial made from the humble elderflower. Plenty to pick from June onwards and it still amazes me how many delicious things you can make with a flower that is free to forage and so abundant this time of year. Make sure you pick elderflowers from bushes protected from pollution, on a dry day. Only pick fully open flowers that have not yet started to drop their petals. Shake the heads so little insects can drop and escape from the flower heads, but don't wash them as it will also wash away some of the fragrant pollen that would give your cordial that distinct lovely scent and flavour. Try to use it as soon as you collected them.
This recipe is for a larger quantity and it makes about 4 litres of cordial. But do half the quantities if you like according to your needs.
I don't use citric acid in my cordials for preserving as I freeze the lot in smaller containers and defrost one at a time, this will keep in the fridge for a few days no problem.
2kg granulated sugar
50 elderflower heads (or more if you prefer a stronger flavour)
4 oranges, thinly sliced
4 lemons, thinly sliced
4 limes, thinly sliced
Put the sugar with 2.5 litres of water into a saucepan and gently heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Bring to the boil. Add the elderflower heads and bring back to the boil, then remove from the heat immediately. Put the sliced lemons, limes and oranges into a big bowl or large pot and pour over the hot elderflower syrup. Stir and let it cool. Cover and leave it to infuse for 24 hours.
Strain through a fine sieve or muslin and store in small plastic bottles or containers in the freezer. If you wish to add citric acid, you will need 50g added at the stage where you mix the liquid with the citrus fruit.
Elderflower cordial makes a fantastic summer drink diluted with water or fizzy water or added to prosecco or champagne. You can boil it down to a thicker syrup too and use it for topping ice creams and puddings. Elderflower cordial can also be a base for ice cream, jellies, flavouring cakes or infusing strawberries in summer desserts. I recently made a lovely gluten free elderflower and blueberry almond cake from Scandilicious Baking it was really excellent.
Don't forget to revisit these bushes in the autumn when the elderberries are ready to pick. They make excellent jams and preserves full of vitamin C. Here is the link to my favourite elderberry jam recipe.