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Recipe of the Month – May/June – Elderflower Cordial

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At this time of year, when the Elderflowers are in full bloom, I undertake my annual ritual of making homemade Elderflower Cordial.  There is nothing better than combining a gorgeous morning walk with foraging for Elderflower heads, before heading home to make a delicious batch of homemade cordial that we can enjoy over the coming months.

It was amazingly easy to make (as long as you plan ahead and have the right ingredients in the cupboard), extremely satisfying and delicious.

So whilst the Elderflowers are still in bloom, get out with a pair of scissors/secateurs, grab a carrier bag, get out for a walk and then get making.

I always use Ghillie James’ recipe, from her book, “Jam, Jelly and Relish” which is packed full of seasonal recipes.  Whilst totally perfect, served with water and ice, Ghillie also has a great recipe for a delicious, refreshing Elderflower and Rum cocktail, using the cordial, which has now become a favourite sundowner!  You can find the recipe here.

Elderflower Cordial Recipe – Makes about 5 litres


Approx 50 Elderflower heads (shaken to remove any creatures, don’t wash)

1.8 kg granulated sugar

2 lemons – zest and juice

50g Citric acid (available from chemists or online)

Muslin cloth or similar

To Make:

Put the sugar in a large non-metallic container and pour over 1.5 litres boiling.  Stir to dissolve.

Add lemon juice and zest, elderflower head and citric acid.  Stir, cover with clean tea towel and leave overnight.

(I didn’t read the recipe property and put everything in together and then poured over the boiling water and it worked.)

Just before bottling, sterilise glass bottles by washing in warm water or putting through the dishwasher and then putting in an oven at 120C for 15 minutes.

Line a sieve/colander with the muslin cloth and pour the liquid through into another bowl.  Squeezing all the goodness from the cloth into the liquid.

Pour the cordial into the warm sterilized bottles (3/4 full if freezing) and seal.

If using immediately, it is fine to be left at room temp but store other bottles in the fridge for up to 6 months or in the freezer indefinitely.