The sun is out, the flowers are there – get picking! If the very idea of making your own elderflower cordial smacks of ‘smugness’ and some idyll of ‘domestic superiority’ that’s just fine – carry on believing – but I promise you, this really is the easiest, cheapest and most delicious drink to make. You can do other things with elderflowers, but that is when it gets more complicated – as a cordial you can use it in summer dressings, jellies, added to puddings etc etc etc, ultimately it is the drink you are after – the perfect refreshment for a summer afternoon.
How to make it….
First pick your elderflowers, ideally on a sunny day! (that could be the challenging bit)
20-30 heads of elderflower
1.4kg of white granulated sugar
2 litres of water
75 gms of citric acid (this is not as easy to find as it should be – really the only place is a chemist – if they don’t have it they can order it in)
Put the sugar and water in a pan and slowly dissolve all the sugar over a gradual heat.
Pare the skin of the lemons with a vegetable peeler and slice into rounds.
Once all the sugar has dissolved add the lemon rind, lemon slices, elderflower heads (shake well beforehand) and citric acid – stir well and store covered for 24 hours.
After 24 hours stir well, sieve the cordial and bottle it. I store mine in the fridge and if I have too much there – pop into plastic bottles and store in the freezer.
A few ideas of how to use it……..
The obvious one: It is particularly good served with fresh mint, a lime slice and sparkling water.
Add a few tablespoons of the cordial to whipped cream and use in a pavlova with kiwi and grapes.
The cordial marries beautifully with gooseberries, in a tart, fool or just compote.
Used instead of vinegar for a dressing it is extremely good with broad beans, peas and feta.
It can be easily made into jellies for children or adults – use 1pt of water, 75 ml of cordial and 4 gelatine leaves. Soften the gelatine leaves in a 1/4 of the water and elderflower mix, heat the rest of the elderflower mix when almost boiling take off the heat and add the softened gelatine leaves, stir well so the leaves have completely dissolved and pour into glasses – leave to set in the fridge!
Happy picking and license to feel very smug!