September 8, 2022

Elderflower Cordial

It is that time of year again. I always pick some elderflower in May to make this refreshing drink. It grows a long the canal near where I live. The flowers have healing qualities that help if you have sinus problems. They also have antiseptic, anti viral and anti inflammatory properties.

It is best to pick the flowers first thing in the morning and away from roads because of pollution. Don’t pick them if it has been raining as it spoils the taste. You can make this recipe without the citric acid but it will ferment and only last a couple of days unless you freeze some. Sometimes I do freeze in empty plastic pop bottles but you need to leave a gap at the top of the bottle for the liquid to expand as it freezes.


  • 25 sprigs of fresh elderflower
  • 3 litres water

  • 3 lemons, rinds and juice

  • 1kg sugar

  • 10g of citric acid

  1. Place the elderflower heads and lemon rinds in a large bowl. I cut a lot of the green stalks off as they can add bitterness.
  2. Boil the water and pour over the elderflower, cover and leave overnight.
  3. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve or a piece of muslin (I use a cotton pillow case that I bought to do this).
  4. Bring the liquid to the boil in a pan with the sugar, citric acid and lemon juice and boil for 2 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool before filling sterilised bottles.

As well as using as a drink, the cordial can be used to flavour desserts too. It lasts for about 3 months. Once opened keep in the fridge.

Some recipes don’t soak the elderflower overnight and just boil the ingredients for about 30 minutes. I prefer to do it this way. My tastes have changed over the years and I have reduced the sugar content and I often replace half of it with Stevia so that it is more healthy.

The lady in the garden behind me has a black elderflower which has pink flowers. Some is hanging over my garden and so I am going to ask if I can have some flower heads to give mine a pink tinge this year.

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