And… how to make sure you’re not making cow parsley cordial !
This elderflower cordial recipe is a slight change from our normal blog posts, but this is perfect drink for young and old alike. Very refreshing, and great at this time of year (late Spring) and into the summer months. Fun to pick the flowers with your children and easy for kids to make with a little adult supervision.
From early June (in the South) Elderflower will start to appear; later, as you go North. Typically found in hedgerows, and can be found almost anywhere. Having chatted to a friend (who mistakenly made a whole batch of cow parsley cordial) I thought I’d also show how to find elderflower, so if you don’t know for sure – please look further down the post.
But to begin, here’s the best and most simple recipe:
How to make ElderflowerCordial
Ok, so once you have the correct flower you will need to collect 50 flower heads. Note: pick flowers higher than your thighs, higher than the tallest dog 😉
The others will be rain washed and clean. Keeping it in an open plastic bag for an hour or two will encourage any bugs to leave too.
Ingredients for Elderflower Cordial:
50 Elderflower Heads
4 Large lemons
4 litres water
100g citric acid – you can get this from good chemists or online.
You will need:
A very large pan – almost a caldron – big enough to hold 4 litres of water and ingredients.
A clean teatowel for straining
Bottles – you can reuse old plasic ones
Gently wash the elderflower.
Begin to gently warm up the water in the pan
Peel the lemons finely
…and squeeze the lemons into the pan
Then add the sugar
and the citric acid.
Keep heating gently until all the sugar is dissolved – there’s no need to bring it to the boil but until it stops being cloudy. Stir so the sugar doesn’t catch on the bottom.
Let it cool and when barely warm add the elderflower heads.
Cover with either cling film or a clean tea towel. It does tend to smell a bit like cat pee but fear not!
Let it stand in a cool place for 4 – 5 days.
Scoop using a jug into a colander or sieve to remove most bits.
Then strain through a cloth/tea towel to remove any unwanted bits. A small flower or two can look very pretty but tends to make the cordial go off quickly.
Pour into bottle
It’ll look a bit like..
About this much cordial to water
Stir, add ice and a slice of lemon – delicious!
This can be stored. Remember to leave it in a cool place and take care when opening a bottle, a little hiss is ok, but a build up of gas can cause some bottles to explode; although this has never happened to me, just wouldn’t want it to happen to anyone.
It is also possible to freeze the cordial in a plastic bottle, leave an air gap at the top of the bottle to accommodate the expansion of the liquid as it freezes. I’ve kept mine until the following spring to enjoy on a warm day – delicious!
Disclaimer: We can take no responsibility for any recipes that go wrong, have exploding bottles or if you don’t like the taste/brings you out in hives!
If it works well however, we’re happy to take all the praise! 😉
Any tips, questions or thoughts please comment below.
So how to make sure you're making elderflower cordial
Below is a little look at where to find elderflower. Elderflower can be found all over the UK and is readily available from the end of May and throughout most of June. Your biggest clue is that it’s a shrub or bush. There is a plant called ground elder – every gardeners nightmare which looks similar to cow parsley. Please see below.
Cow parsley and ground elder flower at about the same time, perhaps a little earlier. It typically grows on the kerbside, next to roads and has individual stems from the ground. More on how to identify elderflower here.
Closer look at the elderflower:
Elderflower leaves are like this on the bush, but ground elder leaves are also similar to begin with.
Excuse the misty picture, must have been a damp day! But you can see they’re plainly not a bush.
Closer look, as you can see they are similar, but cow parsley and ground elder are not shrubs or bushes. Elderflower tends to be in a hedge.
Cow parsley leaves look like this. However, ground elder does have similar leaves – hence the name so make sure you’re picking flowers from a bush.
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