In this article, you’ll learn how to make Elderflower Cordial and how to store it for several months. It’s easy to make and preserves the flavour and scent of Spring for the Winter months.
This recipe was originally published in 2012. It’s had a little ‘spring’ clean, so I’m re-sharing it today with new pics!
Yippee! The Elderflower in our hedges are back and my homemade elderflower cordial is back on the menu! I think last years batch ran out towards the end of October, so it’s been a looooong time coming!
I love this stuff. The out of season fragrance (if/when I manage to make my stash last till the winter) instantly jets me straight back to these long, warm early summer evenings. And as always there’s something extra special about popping the cork on a brew that you picked and preserved yourself.
Are Elderflowers poisonous?
No… and yes. The flowers are absolutely not poisionous, and perfectly safe to us all to consume. However the leaves and stems of the elder tree contain a compound that can be toxic. You can find out more on the qualities of this plant here.
There are aren’t many plants you can confuse with elderflower. However, do make sure you are picking them from a tree, as opposed to a stalk. As there are umbellifers (think cow parsley and hemlock) that have a slightly similar flower head and may be poisonous.
As you can see in the pic below, the flowers are like little umbrellas.
Elderflowers also smell sweet and florally (unless you leave a bunch of them in your kitchen overnight, as that sweetness turns to a scent very similar to cats pee!)
How long can you keep homemade elderflower cordial?
If your bottle is sterile, and all your utensils are scrupulously clean, your syrup will last in the fridge for months.
The easiest way to sterilise any equipment beforehand is to run it through a dishwasher. You can also sterilise them in an oven, or use sterlising tablets such as Milton tablets.
What is in elderflower cordial?
A cordial is an extremely sweet syrup that you can mix with water or alcohol to produce a sweet and fragrant drink.
It can also be used in baking and desserts to give sweetness and a beautiful floral scent and flavour.
You can find the full recipe below, but you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Fresh elderflowers, ideally pick these on a warm sunny day.
- Sugar, white granulated is fine
- Lemons, as you’re using the peel as well as the juice, try to source organic or unwaxed if possible. If not, scrub first.
- Boiling water
- Citric acid, you can find this in chemists, large supermarkets or order online
Want more elderflower recipes?
I have a few recipes here on The Hedgecombers for using this pretty wild flower. You can find all my Elderflower recipes here.
And here’s a video I created showing how easy it is to forage elderflowers, and how easy it is to make elderflower cordial. I hope you enjoy it!
- 900 ml of boiling water
- 1 lemon zested & sliced
- 20 elderflower heads
- 1 kg sugar
- 25 g citric acid
Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan.
Pour in the sugar and stir until dissolved.
Take the pan off the heat and tip in all the other ingredients: the elderflowers, citric acid and lemon zest and slices (including the zest and pips). Stir well.
Cover the pan with a lid or a clean tea towel and leave to steep for between 12 and 24 hours.
Drain through muslin or a nut milk bag into a clean jug, then pour into sterilised bottles.
Label your bottles and keep them in the fridge. If every stage of the brewing process was kept scrupulously clean, your elderflower cordial should last for up to 12 months in a fridge. Check periodically and throw any away that shows signs of mould.
To use, pour 1- 2 cm of cordial in a glass and top up with water. Add more or less to find your perfect blend.