Elderflower cordial

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It’s June and the fragrance of elderflowers is in the air. This excites me because I know in less than 24 hours I could be sipping a refreshing glass of elderflower cordial.

I love everything about making this cordial, from picking the flowers on a warm Summers day to the kitchen full of their delicate aroma while they are waiting to be turned in to a delicious Summer drink.

If you are lucky enough to have lots of trees nearby and have space in your freezer you can pick and freeze them to enjoy at any time of the year. They will go brown but they will still make very good cordial.

Makes about 2 litres


About 25 elderflower heads (approx 250g)
Finely grated zest of 3 unwaxed lemons and 1 orange, plus their juice (about 150ml in total)
1kg sugar
1 heaped tsp citric acid (optional)


Inspect the elderflower heads carefully and remove any insects. Place the flower heads in a large bowl together with the orange and lemon zest.

Bring 1.5 litres water to the boil and pour over the elderflowers and citrus zest. Cover and leave overnight to infuse.

Strain the liquid through a scalded jelly bag or piece of muslin and pour into a saucepan. Add the sugar, the lemon and orange juice and the citric acid (if using).

Heat gently to dissolve the sugar, then bring to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes.

Use a funnel to pour the hot syrup into sterilised bottles. Seal the bottles with swing-top lids, sterilised screw-tops or corks.

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