elderflower cordial

elderflowers - CopyEvery year I miss elderflower time. I keep reading Fay’s post about making cordial, and when we visited last year we got to taste some of hers and it really was just marvellous, yet each year I forget until it’s too late.

Not this year though!

Although I confess it wasn’t the happy-skippy, carefree summery experience I’d imagined. I spent quite a lot of time battling with nettles and brambles and long grass, reaching and jumping to find the best flowers, and feeling very glad I was wearing trousers rather than the wafty floaty skirt I’d imagined picking elderflowers in.

IMG_4500 (800x600) - CopyI went on my way home from the community allotment, and had forgotten to take my basket (as well as a wafty skirt, I always imagined picking elderflowers with a basket…). But no, I had to make do with a pink string bag. Perfectly cheerful, although quite difficult to get elderflowers into and out of… Basket next time I think.

IMG_4501 - CopyThey really are ever so pretty. Such teeny tiny delicate flowers, and such a glorious summery smell.

IMG_4502 (800x600) - CopyI followed the same instructions as Fay, leaving out the citric acid (I didn’t have any). Having a bit of a mooch around the internet it seems there are two main ways of making elderflower cordial – you can either make a syrup with sugar and water first, then plonk your elderflowers in it, or plonk the elderflowers in water, strain, then make a syrup out of the elderflowery liquid.

I did it the first way round – boiled up sugar and water while I sorted the flowers and encouraged the beasties to leave (I did that bit in the garden). I wasn’t too particular about removing all the stems, as you can see (I much prefer low maintenance activities).

IMG_4503 (800x600) - CopyNot quite so pretty once everything was bundled into one pan together (and you can see I also followed Fay’s advice not to bother zesting the lemons first). I did add an extra lemon because I’d missed the citric acid.

I left everything soaking in the pan overnight with a teatowel over the top, intending to strain it the next day, but then I was poorly so it all got ignored for another day.

Last night I tried to strain it through the tea towel – except the weave was too small and the cordial too thick and it just sat there and wouldn’t soak through at all! I tried just an ordinary seive, which left me with cordial full of bits. Much experimentation and pouring later I had no clean tea towels left and was sticking to the floor (and the table, and my clothes) but I had three lovely bottles of shimmery, summery goodness.

elderflower cordial (800x600)(It looks much better in real life than in that picture, I promise!)

It’s FAR too sugary even for my sweet tooth, and I suspect it would have been rather better with the citric acid… I’m not sure how much I’ll drink as ordinary cordial…

Fortunately I have many other plans, and will be stirring it into my gooseberry jam, pouring it over ice cream, and drinking it with gin and tonic for a start.

Have you made elderflower cordial? How did you do it? Was it a success?

This entry was posted in in the kitchen, learning new things, look what i made!. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to elderflower cordial

  1. Maria says:

    Mostly unrelated but I have to ask – where did your your cockerel bottle-stopper originate from? only because I grew up in Spain and I remember a similar one…

    Otherwise it sounds like a sticky but tasty activity ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. alderandash says:

    I can sympathise with the sticky mess bit! This year I actually bought a couple of jelly/cordial making muslins, after years of straining the stuff through tea-towels etc – it did help at bit, but there was still plenty of mess! (Found myself sticking slightly to the kitchen floor this morning – did smell nice tho!) I agree, it is very sugary but lovely dilluted down…I blogged about my elderflower-making adventures this year. It involved a lot of clambering…and nettles…no wafty skirts for me either!

    • Funny how the reality differs from the romantic pictures in the magazines! ๐Ÿ˜€ Iโ€™ve taken to adding my cordial to gin and tonic ๐Ÿ˜€ (and I also found 2 bags of citric acid in the cupboard so am going to try adding some at the weekend)

  3. alderandash says:

    Yes… those magazine pics always leave out the wellies and old jeans needed to get through the brambles and nettles, and the sticks and bits of wire/string needed to hook awkward branches. They always seem to have a trug handy, too (rather than the more realistic grotty plastic bag found in the boot of the car!) My Mum used to take us foraging for elderflower, blackberries etc as kids back in the 70s so at least I was a bit prepared for the less ‘wafting about with a trug’ bits of the process!! The end results are always worth it, tho…Cordial + gin and tonic sounds great, I may have to try this!

  4. helen says:

    I have not commented for a long time. We cancelled our internet in October last year and the library’s filter will not even let me log in to my blog. I don’t expect you to remember who I am, as I was mostly a siltent follower of your blog….which I love.

    Couldn’t resist sharing my experience with elderflower cordial….although I much prefer your humorous post to my terribly serious stuffy one….


    I can’t remember how to incorporate all that url into a linky wordy thingy.

    Over ice-cream is my most favourite :)))

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