In early June I start to become elderflower obsessed. As I drive past hedgerows full of those little cream fluffy flower heads, I evaluate the ditch frontage and wonder if I can stretch across them without coming a cropper. My calculations are often wrong and I do end upside down in the ditch with a bruised bottom and nettle stung ankles. But that is all forgotten when I bring home the biggest bounty and make the loveliest summer drink of all.
My recipe for this has been on the BBC Food Website for many years and it always makes me happy when I just Google ‘Elderflower Cordial’ – because it comes up first. A little victory!
But here is the recipe from my book – tried and tested many times over the years and a family and friend’s favourite. Incredibly easy to make.
In my book there is also a recipe for Elderflower Vodka…but you’ll have to buy it to get that one!
What? Got to make a sale to keep my cat in food!
Makes approximately 3.9 litres
900g granulated sugar
3.5 litres of boiling water
50 citric or tartaric acid
40 elderflower heads – pick on a sunny day when pollen is at its highest
1 large orange – sliced
2 large lemons – sliced
sparkling water and ice to serve.
Pour the sugar into a bowl large enough to hold the sugar and water. Pour the boiling water over the sugar, stir to dissolve the and leave to cool.
Add the citric or tartaric acid to the cooled liquid.
Don’t wash the elderflowers or shake them too vigorously as this will remove the pollen and the pollen is where all the wonderful fragrance is held. Place the elderflowers and the sliced fruit in the water, and make sure they are submerged.
Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave in a cool place for 48 hours stirring occasionally.
Lay some muslin in a colander over another large bowl. Strain the cordial through it. Transfer the cordial to sterilised bottles and keep in the fridge for a month.
To serve: Dilute with some sparkling water, 55ml to 570ml or water is about right – and top up with ice.