My friend phoned me last week saying she had more elderflowers she could possibly cope with, so she could share some with me if I wanted. I did.
When the freshly picked elderflower heads arrived, they looked and smelt so wonderful that I immediately decided to have a go at eldeflower cordial.
I searched through a few English and Slovak websites before picking a recipe that looked just right to me. The end result was more than satisfying : a golden nectar with a tangy-sweet flavour that provided a refreshing summer drink when mixed with cold water.
Homemade Elderflower Cordial
- 2 l water
- 40 elderflower heads
- 1½ kg sugar
- 3 lemons
- In a large cooking pot, bring the water to the boil and let cool down to room temperature. Trim the flowers off the firm stems, leaving the clusters intact. Squeeze the juice out of the lemons.
- Soak the flowers in the cooled water, add the lemon juice and stir to combine. Cover the pot with a lid and let stand in a cool, dark place for two days.
- Gently squeeze the flowers in your hands before removing them from the pot. This will ensure all the flavours and aroma are caught in the extract. Strain the extract through a fine-meshed sieve into a clean pot. Discard any remaining flowers and line the sieve with a cheesecloth. Pass the extract through it to achieve a clear, shiny look.
- Place the pot with the extract over a medium heat and add the sugar. Warm to about 50ºC (or until you can dip your finger in it without getting burnt). Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar has dissolved. Turn off the heat.
- While still warm, pour the syrupy liquid into clean, dry bottles or jars. Screw on the lids and stand the jars upside down or lay the bottles horizontally on a table to cool slowly and ensure a good seal.
- Serve mixed with cold water as a light summer drink. Once opened, store in the fridge and use within two weeks.