Have you noticed the elderflower blossom? Its everywhere, in full bloom and looking beautiful. One of the flowers of the moment, I have been (not so) patiently waiting for the tree and the end of my garden to flower abundantly enough for me to make some elderflower cordial.
Recipes are easy to come by and contain only a few ingredients and a couple of easy steps so after a little research I have adapted a mix of recipes (merged is perhaps a better word) and used the following…
- 20 – 25 heads of elderflower blossom – try and pick flowers that are fully open but not yet brown as they are more easily removed from their stalks and will taste better
- 2 lemons, sliced
- 1 3/4 pints of boiling water
- sugar, 12 oz per pint, explanation to follow
- 1 further lemon, this is to replace the citric acid many recipes ask for
Give the blossom a good shake and a quick rinse to free the insects and clean it, then set about removing the flowers from the stalks placing them in a bowl as you go. This can be a little time consuming, if the flowers are fully open they should come free quite easily. If the flower heads you have picked still have some buds then it will be slightly more fiddly.
Add the two sliced lemons to the bowl then pour over the boiling water and cover with a clean cloth or tea towel. Once it has cooled pop it into the fridge. Leave this elderflower tea to steep overnight, or even longer if you would like to develop a more intense flavour.
Next strain the tea, using a finely woven cloth pour the liquid into another vessel. Now is the time to measure its volume and decide the amount of sugar to add in proportion to the amount of liquid. For example if you have roughly 1 1/2 pints of liquid, add 1 lb 2 oz sugar (yes I know I’m working in imperial rather than metric measurements, convert if you wish!) also add the juice of the extra lemon (half a lemon to each pint) at this point then heat the liquid gently until all the sugar is dissolved.
At this point you can sterilise the cordial itself, sterilising will extend the use by date to up to a year, if you are planning to use it within the next few months then this is perhaps a little over the top. I have also read that the cordial can be frozen, I wonder if this is a happy compromise for me, popping it in ice cube trays to use as and when. That said the bottle into which you pour the cordial should be sterilised and I tend to do this in the oven by placing a clean but still damp bottle and lid on a baking tray into an oven set at 140° c until it is completely dried out.
Once the sugar is fully dissolved pour the cordial into the sterilised bottle. Seal the bottle and once cooled pop it in the fridge to use as and when you fancy. I like to mix mine with sparkling water.
Other ideas with elderflowers and cordial… Ok I can’t resist and like to explore the possibilities.
- The blossom can be dried and stored then used to make elderflower tea at a later date. You can simply pop some of the dried blossom in a cup or teapot and add a slice or two of lemon, honey is another optional extra to sweeten the tea.
- Place a tiny sprig into an ice cube tray and fill with water, freeze, put it in your drink. Instant pretty. I have been freezing slices of lemon in ice cubes for a long time now but to be honest the possibilities are endless. Try freezing any fruits or edible flowers to liven up your glass.
- Use the cordial as a drizzle for your fruit salad or strawberries. Traditionally elder flower is paired with gooseberry, undeniably a great match too.
I started typing this post a few days ago, it’s taken me a while as I have limited access to my kitchen this week… Not that the delay in itself matters at all except that in the meantime my lovely friend Emma has written a similar recipe for elderflower syrup on her blog A Quiet Style and, well, it’s beautiful. I thoroughly recommend you pop over for a look!
Have a happy weekend, whatever you are up to.