Saturday 28 May 2011

Elder flower cordial ... ...

I've made some elder flower cordial, which I'm quite pleased about, mainly because it worked :-) we wanted to make some last year, but missed the best of the flowers, so we put it off until this year, and today I bottled the cordial up (all 2 litres of it) we also have some elder flower champagne on the go, although it'll most likely end up as wine, but I go into that another time.

Here's the cordial -

Nice and refreshing.

Looks good, and tastes great, now making this is pretty simple, although I was a little concerned about it as I've never used flowers in this way and wanted to get it right, and not kill anyone in process :-) we've made cordials before, we make rhubarb and blackberry cordials, and if we get enough black currants we'll be making black currant cordial as well, how ever using elder flowers requires a slightly different method. (you can read about the rhubarb cordial here on my wife's blog opens in new window)

Okay so how to make the cordial ?

Equipment :

  • Measuring jug.
  • Saucepan for boiling water, or you can use the kettle.
  • Large bowl,bucket to keep the mixture in while it infuses.
  • Straining bag or muslin.
  • Funnel (not essential, but makes bottling up easier)
  • Bottles.

Ingredients : (feel free to adjust to suit your needs)

  • Sugar (about 1kg, you can adjust to suit your tastes)
  • 2 lemons (un-waxed)
  • Water about 2 litres (we used 2 litres, but you could use less or more, again adjust to suit your needs)
  • Citric acid (helps it last longer, we used 2 teaspoons, but you can add more, or not use it at all)
  • About 20 good sized elderflower heads, make sure they are as fresh as possible.
The ingredients are easily adjustable, and with the citric acid you don't have to use it, it just helps it last longer, although from the way the kids have been drinking it we needn't have bothered :-) you can also freeze it in ice cubes, which we've done as well, this will help it last longer as well.

Method :

First boil your water, either in a saucepan or use the kettle (if you use the kettle make sure no lime scale gets into it) then put it into your bucket / tub, then add the sugar, and stir it until all the sugar has dissolved, you can use more or less sugar, we've found that 1kg is probably a little too much for us, but we'll just water it down more.

Add the zest of the lemons (again you can use more or less lemons, or add oranges and limes) then cut the lemons into quarters or slices and squeeze the juice into the mixture, then chuck the lemon pieces in the mixture, if your are using citric acid (which you can get from your local pharmacy) add it now.

Now for the elder flowers, before you put them in the mixture there's 2 things you need to do, make sure that the mixture has cooled and remove any bugs, and if your elder flowers are anything like ours there will be loads of them, give each flower head a shake, but not too hard as all the flowers will drop off, you can also rinse the flower heads in cold water.

Our mixture in the brewing tub we use for this type of thing -

The smell is fantastic.
Once your elder flowers have been de-bugged and the mixture has cooled you can put them in, then just give it a stir and cover it with a lid or a clean cloth, cling film will do as well, then leave it in a cool place for 24 / 48 hours to infuse, the amount of time you leave it is up to you, I looked on various web sites and found people left theirs for a day or two, some a week so it's up to you, obviously the longer you leave it the more flavour it'll have.

When it's ready for bottling all you need to do is strain it through a piece of muslin or a straining bag, then you can pour it into your bottles, make sure they are clean first, once bottled put it in the fridge to chill, or you can freeze it as ice cubes, or ice lollies, you could also make sorbet out of it, it's quite versatile :-)

Here's some in an ice cube tray - 

These go down well with the kids, as would ice lollies.

Just to point out that the flowers contain a natural yeast, if you leave the mixture in a warm spot long enough it will start to ferment and you'll end up with a slightly alcoholic mixture, this is how elderflower champagne is made, and whilst this may be nice for adults it's probably best the kids don't have any ;-) I have another post about our elderflower champagne, which I'll try and write soon.

And finally, you can also make lemon cordial in a similar way, just leave out the elderflowers and don't leave it so long, if you chuck everything in your tub of choice when the water is hot and leave it to cool, you should then end up with a lemon cordial, or you could use limes or oranges.

Thanks for reading.

Inspire Me Beautiful sunnydaytodaymama


  1. Yay! Do your children like it? The boys and I made some about a week ago and they loved it, I was most pleased.

    Love the swing top bottle you've out it in -they always make things look even better I think :D

  2. This is all fine and good but . . .

    . . . where are the glasses & ice? Eh?! lol

  3. Thanks for looking :-) hopefully the elderflower champagne / wine will turn out as good.

    The kids really seem to love the cordial, which is good, my daughter (nearly 3) calls it flower juice :-) both of them are getting used to the things we make, and in most cases they prefer homemade to shop bought, which has to be good.

  4. I've always fancied a go at this.

    Let us know how the champers turns out!


  5. wow!!!!!! this looks amazing!! ans sounds very yummy!! Thanks so much for linking up!

  6. Thanks for reading.

    I'm planning on making some lemon cordial today, it's basically the same method as the elderflower.

    As for the champagne, I'm not sure it's actually going to be champagne, more like wine as you're meant to bottle it up after a week or so, but ours was far to volatile for bottles, it would have blown the lids off and made a load of mess, so it's in demijohns at the moment, either way I'll write about it :-)

  7. That sounds really nice must try it thanks for sharing

  8. How fun! My husband would love to do this.

    1. We intend to make some more this year, just haven't found any elder in flower yet.