How To Make Elderflower Cordial
Healthy living blogger Clean Living Clare has written a wonderful guest blog on how to make homemade elderflower cordial. Yum! Read more below to find out how to make the most of this prolific plant that litters the hedgerows of the Suffolk countryside in the month of June:
Nothing beats the satisfaction of making things yourself and it doesn’t get much better than this fresh homemade elderflower cordial recipe.
It’s the month of June, which only means one thing to elderflower lovers – harvesting time! Common elderflowers grow on the Sambucus nigra plant. You might be lucky enough to have a bush growing in your garden but if not, you will find the hedgerows littered with bushes at this time of year in the UK. From late May and into June, you will find masses of tiny white flowers hanging in sprays.
Once you know what an elderflower tree looks like, you’ll be spotting them everywhere, but before you start foraging make sure that you are able to correctly identify this plant. There are lots of websites that will help with plant identification if you are not sure. Elderflower cordial, or syrup, is surprisingly easy to make and you won’t be disappointed with this recipe.
Things to buy/prepare in advance:
Air-tight bottles for storing your cordial
Clean muslin or tea-towel
2oz citric acid (optional)
Camden tablets (optional)
3lbs granulated sugar
2 lemons and 2 oranges
35 elderflower heads (make sure you pick white/buttery ones with no brown flowers)
- In a large saucepan with a lid (or dish/tub with a lid) place the sugar and 3 pints of boiling water.
- Stir the mixture until the sugar has dissolved and leave to cool for a couple of hours.
- Once cooled, add the citric acid and stir until dissolved.
- Roughly chop the oranges and the lemons and add to the mixture.
- Next add the elderflower heads. You will need to push these down into the liquid with a spoon. Cover and leave for 48-72 hours.
- Strain the mixture to get rid of the elderflowers and fruit. I tend to use a sieve to do this and then strain through either a clean muslin cloth or clean tea-towel.
- Add 1 crushed Camden tablet per gallon of cordial and leave to settle for 3-4 hours.
- Now is a good time to sterilise your bottles.
- Once the mixture is cool you can bottle your cordial.
- Make sure you are pouring your cordial from something that you have control of the flow, such as a jug. I also use a plastic funnel to get the liquid into the bottle.
- Seal your bottle and store or give away as a lovely gift to someone special.
How to sterilise bottles
Wash your bottles in hot, soapy water and rinse to remove any lingering bubbles. Remove any rubber rings from the bottle (if using Kilner Jar type bottles). Place the bottles in the oven and heat to 120c. Leave the bottles in the oven until they have completely dried. Be very careful when removing them from the oven. Allow them to cool fully.
Where can you buy citric acid and why use it?
You can buy citric acid either in winemaking stores/departments or from the pharmacy. It will give a more lemony taste to your cordial plus it will enable your cordial to keep for 3-4 months in the fridge. You do not need to add citric acid if you do not want to, you will just not be able to keep your cordial for as long and it will need drinking after a couple of weeks in the fridge. Alternatively you could freeze it.
Where can you buy Camden tablets and why use them?
You can buy Camden tablets in winemaking stores/departments. They are used for preserving, and if you use one in your cordial it will keep almost indefinitely in a cool dark place. With elderflowers the Camden tablet will kill the natural yeasts and on the flowers. Always follow the instructions on the packaging when using Camden tablets. As with citric acid, you do not need to add Camden tablets to your cordial.
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Photo Credit: Clean Living Clare