I know, that’s two Elderflower cordial-ish recipes this summer, but it is such a great thing to do! Elderflowers are all the rage in our village this June. we’ve had neighbours knocking on the door asking for recipes. What can we say, they are a beautiful thing and they grow on trees! Some even call this drink the ‘nectar of the Gods’!
This is not technically raw, as it is simmered slightly, but we hope that it didn’t make it above 46oC as this stuff is lighting up our life right now! Very easy to make and plentiful, something all Brits should have in the fridge door ready to be mixed with sparking water, gin or whatever takes your tipple fancy. Did you hear that Brits, its a must! In the States, I think it grows? I know you can buy it dried over there and its just as good, if not more intense.
There are over 30 varities of Elderflowers and some may be slightly toxic, don’t let this put you off. None of the flowers are toxic, only the leaves and stems, so if you are not sure, just leave out the greens.
You cannot mistake an elderflower tree (some younger plants look more like bushes), the unmistakable aroma will be the first thing that hits you. They have the coolest micro-flowers, white and yellow.
When picking Elderflowers, make sure you leave some for the tree! We only take a small share from each tree and keep our eyes out when driving or walking around for new trees to pick from. This is the great thing about foraging for your own ingredients, wherever you go, the plants follow!
We recommend making the cordial as soon as you pick the flowers, otherwise they will naturally deteriorate and lose some of their vitality and flavour. You can of course dry them if you have a dehydrator or live in a particularly hot place (lucky you!)
The Elderflowers will also turn into gorgeous Elderberries later in the year and these are worth the wait. It makes us feel much more connected to the seasons, watching the trees and plants changing as we move through summer towards the bounty of autumn.
You may also like to try this with orange or lime, anything citrus will do and mix things up a little. Lemon is the classic though to be sipped on a steamy British summer’s day preferably with a knotted handkerchief on your head and some cucumber sandwiches to hand. Croquet anyone! Splendid.
If you like this, you may like our Elderflower Champagne Recipe.
Makes 1.5 litres:
30 heads of Elderflower, 1.5kg sugar, 3 unwaxed organic lemons, 2 pints water, 75g citric acid (food grade) optional
Shake the Elderflowers and make sure there are no little crawly friends still present. No need to wash them, they have been breathing the same air as we have! If they are growing at ‘dog cocking leg height’, wash them well. Place in a large heatproof bowl.
Put water into a pan and heat gently, add sugar and stir to form a syrup. Leave to cool.
Now zest your lemons into the syrup and then slice them acrossways, add the slices also. Pour the slightly cooled syrup onto the Elderflowers and stir in the citric acid. Cover with a plate and leave to stand for a day.
After that, taste the cordial, then strain through muslin into sterilised bottles. We use old wine bottles with corks.
Will keep in the fridge for at least three weeks, but it won’t last that long anyway!
We have ours with sparkling water and a little ice, maybe a squeeze more lemon. We have also had it in cucumber juice, which was quite amazing. Of course there is lots of boozy fun to be had here, add to sparkling wine or a gin and tonic for something quite special.
We Love It!
The essence of the British summer, concentrate and bottled.
Elderflower’s are one of natures power flowers. They contain bio-flavanoids, many of the omega fatty acids, pectin and tanins. They are also good for allergies, and I feel alot better hayfever-wise after a glass of this flower power. It also helps colds, flu, fevers and arthritis.
It has been shown that Elderflower can help to remove toxins from the blood, it stabilises kidney function and even helps with intestinal problems.
Proper FLOWER POWER going on here!