Elderflower cordial

Elderflower cordial

By
From
Finding Fire
Makes
2 litres

The creamy white flowers of elder burst into blossom for just a few weeks in summer, bearing a heady and heavenly fragrance. Historically, elder (Sambucus nigra) was viewed as a sacred tree and it is thought that the name, elder, comes from the Anglo-Saxon word æld, meaning fire, because the hollow stems were once used as bellows to feed air into the fire. The tree has many uses. The green berries can be pickled like capers, or left until autumn (fall) to ripen to the deep purple clusters that lend a tart kick to any dish, while the flowers can be made into fritters or the floral cordial below. Dilute as required for a refreshing drink or incorporate into a dessert, such as a pavlova.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1kg sugar
1 litre filtered water
zest and juice of 1 lemon
100g fresh elderflowers (see note)
40g citric acid

Method

  1. 1. Gently heat the sugar with the water, lemon zest and juice in a saucepan, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. 2. Bring the mixture to the boil and remove from the heat.
  3. 3. Immediately add the elderflowers face down, ensuring that they are submerged in the syrup.
  4. 4. Add the citric acid, cover and leave to steep for 24 hours.
  5. 5. Pass the cordial through a fine-mesh sieve lined with muslin (cheesecloth) into a sterilised jar or bottle. Refrigerate until needed.

NOTES

  • The flowers contain all the fragrance and are delicate, so be sure to handle carefully, picking through to remove bugs rather than washing vigorously.

    The cordial needs time to steep, so begin this recipe a day ahead of time.

    It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 8 months.
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