I love elderflowers…..that beautiful sweet, pungent, heady aroma which is synonymous with spring. So prolific that they’re perfect for urban foraging. Admittedly I have planted one in my own backyard but it’s more an indulgence than necessity as I have plenty I can harvest from in my local area.
You can pick the flowers and dry them out to use as a tea, infuse them into raw honey or even make wine but my all time favourite……is cordial!
It’s so versatile ….lovely when added to sparkling water but you can also use it as a syrup for cakes or icing, it makes a divine granita as well as home made popsicles. It’s also fantastic added to cocktails!….get creative!
Start by picking the elderflowers preferably on a warm, dry day. If it’s been raining the flowers won’t be as pungent. Pick about 12-15 heads making sure you shake off any small insects as you go. I’m not keen on washing them as I think it can wash away the pollens and lessen that beautifully pungent aroma so when picking make sure your hands are clean and that you place the heads into a sterile container and make sure you pick the heads from a place with no contaminants or pollutants around.
To get the best flavour the heads are best used within a couple of hours of picking.
You can use either honey or sugar as the sweetener. The sugar will preserve the cordial a little longer than the honey but I tend to prefer using raw honey for its heath benefits. Elderflower and honey really is a match made in heaven…..great for health and well-being and tastes like a divine treat……perfect!
Method : With clean, dry hands remove the elderflowers from the stalks and place in a bowl or saucepan. Pour 750mls of boiled water that has been left to cool slightly (so as not to cook the flower heads) over the elderflowers. Add 1/4 of a cup of raw honey ( preferably one with a mild flavour….my fave is blue gum or wildflower) to the elderflower liquid and using a wooden spoon stir until the honey is dissolved. Cover with a saucepan lid or clean tea towel and allow to steep in a cool, dark place for one to two days. Check after 24 hours to see how the flavour is developing. At this stage you can either strain it off or leave it for another day.
Once steeped strain the cordial off using a fine mesh sieve and pour into sterilised glass jars.
The elderflower cordial will keep in the refrigerator for a month or you can pour it into Ice cube trays and freeze.
- You can also add a whole thinly sliced lemon when steeping the elderflowers for a subtle lemony zing to the cordial.
- Feel free to alter the amount of honey you add to taste……I always like things on the tarter side