Its that time of year again when the Elder trees that surround our home and line the country roads are heavily laden with their sweet smelling flowers. This is one of those scents that take me back to my childhood. Days of taking the old second hand bicycle I had received for Christmas out of the shed and cycling to meet my friends for days spent fishing or playing in the fields after the farmers had made their hay. We used to play endlessly on the little square bales before they were taken away and stored in the Farmers’ haysheds – games of hide and seek, who could jump the highest and run the fastest from one side of the now grassless fields to the other.
Being the oldest of a family of ten, we were never short of playmates. My friend then, who remains my best friend to this day, also came from a family of ten (although she was the second youngest) so there was always someone to hang out with.
Anyways, back to my Elderflower Cordial….
I don’t ever remember my Mam making this but as I have gotten older myself, and have developed this love of growing my own or foraging in the hedgerows, I have started to make this lovely refreshing Summer Drink. My children absolutely love it and it never lasts more than a week in our house when its made so I don’t need to worry about preserving it.
It is best to pick your elderflower on a dry, sunny day. The flowers will be creamy white in colour and have a very distinctive sweet smell. Try not to take any where the blossom has started to brown. You will know they are overripe and unsuitable if the aroma is a bit more pungent.
25 large Elderflower Heads (stalks trimmed)
1kg Granulated Sugar
50g Citric Acid (available from your local Pharmacy)
1.7 Litres of Water, Boiled
4 Lemons (thickly sliced)
- Trim the stalks of all of your flower heads and check for little insects (don’t let this put you off as they will most definitely not finish up in your end product!)
- Select a large bowl capable of holding all of your ingredients – I use a stainless steel one.
- Place all of the sugar in your bowl and pour over the boiled water. Stir thoroughly and then allow to cool.
- Add the citric acid and the lemons and then the flower heads
- Stir briefly and then cover your bowl with a tea towel and leave in a cool place to infuse for 48 hours
- Strain through some muslin into sterilised bottles.
Add some cordial to sparkling water for a refreshing Summer drink
Add some to a glass of Prosecco to really get your party started – particularly lovely at Alfresco Dining!
Add a few tablespoons of undiluted cordial to a Lemon Sorbet for a refreshing twist
I also add some to my homemade Gooseberry Jam (Recipe to follow). Gooseberry and Elderflowers have a natural affinity with each other