You can't miss Elderflowers at this time of year......those sweet, heavily scented umbrellas of blossom hanging at head height.
I've tried various ways to make elderflower cordial but I think this method is the easiest and extracts the most floral flavour from your elderflowers.
It's super easy - just get the freshest flower heads you can - picked while they still look white and smell sweet. As they get older they turn yellowish brown and have a slight 'cats pee' undertone.....not nice!! And as with all foraged treasures - don't be greedy, and never strip the tree bare! Ideally just take a few heads of elderflower from a few different trees and leave plenty behind for the bugs and bees!
This recipe can be scaled up or down depending how much you harvest
To make approx 500ml elderflower syrup you need:
- approx 10 elderflower heads
- 500ml water
- 250g white sugar
- 2 juicy lemons/limes
1. Pick approx 10 fully open heads of elderflower. Shake them gently to get rid of bugs and then leave for half an hour on a sheet of kitchen paper for any remaining bugs to crawl out.
2. Put 500ml tap water and 250g white sugar into a saucepan. Bring to the boil gently, stirring to dissolve all the sugar, then simmer for 10 minutes to reduce it to a thin syrup. Leave to cool slightly.
3. Meanwhile use a veg peeler to take the zest off 2 unwaxed lemons or limes and put the strips in a large heatproof jar or jug.
4. Add the juice of the 2 lemons/limes and the elderflowers (with as much stalk removed as possible) to the jar.
5. Once the syrup has cooled to a temp that wouldn’t burn you to touch it but is still very warm, pour it into the jar, submerging the flowers and zest (make sure the flowers are fully submerged or they'll go brown)
6. Leave for 2 days, stirring or shaking occasionally, then strain through a fine mesh sieve or muslin.
7. The syrup will keep in sterilised jars/bottles for at least 4 weeks - and longer in the fridge.
Some of my favourite uses for Elderflower Cordial include:
- Diluting with sparkling water to make a cordial
- Adding to Prosecco or G&t to make a cocktail.
- Adding to sponge cakes instead of vanilla extract.
- Drizzling over porridge or pancakes.
- Adding sweetness to salad dressings