Foraged Elderflower Cordial Recipe: How to make elderflower cordial using fresh elderflowers and lemon juice. Makes three bottles that you can use in refreshing summer drinks, or to make edible flower desserts and recipes #preserving #homesteading #canning
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Epic Homemade Elderflower Cordial Recipe with Wild Foraged Elderflowers

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Easy to make elderflower cordial recipe using fresh elderflowers and lemon juice. Makes three bottles that you can use in refreshing summer drinks, or to make edible flower desserts and recipes.

June signals one major event in my foraging year — elderflowers. These creamy white umbels of sweet and fragrant flowers grow on elder trees and later in the year will transform into earthy elderberries. For now, though, the flowers are out and can be used to add flavor and aroma to both drinks and desserts. You don’t need many to make a big impact though, and just twenty of them can make this elderflower cordial recipe.

If you have never had elderflowers before, they’re intensely fragrant and pair well with sweet and citrusy flavors. They taste less like other edible flowers, such as rose or lavender, and more like tropical lychee, pear, and herbaceous undertones. They have a delicate and delicious aroma and are well-worth using in drinks, jam, and desserts.

Foraged Elderflower Cordial Recipe: How to make elderflower cordial using fresh elderflowers and lemon juice. Makes three bottles that you can use in refreshing summer drinks, or to make edible flower desserts and recipes #preserving #homesteading #canning
Homemade elderflower cordial mixed with prosecco

Homemade Elderflower Cordial

One of the best ways to start off elderflower recipes is to make elderflower cordial. Cordials are a sweet thin syrup commonly diluted in water, juice, and champagne to make summery floral drinks. It can also be used to replace some of the water in recipes to add flavor to cakes, icings, puddings, and other desserts.

Traditional elderflower cordial uses just a few ingredients including fresh elderflowers, lemon juice, white granulated sugar, and water. You can also add a small amount of citric acid to the recipe, like I do, to help preserve the cordial for longer. It adds a citrusy flavor but more importantly, raises the acidity level so that bacteria find the cordial too inhospitable to live in. Gently mixed and heated together, and you get a pale yellow sugary syrup that tastes simply incredible. There’s nothing else like homemade elderflower cordial.

Foraged Elderflower Cordial Recipe: How to make elderflower cordial using fresh elderflowers and lemon juice. Makes three bottles that you can use in refreshing summer drinks, or to make edible flower desserts and recipes #preserving #homesteading #canning
Elderflowers grow on elder trees and bloom in early summer

Foraging for Elderflowers

The first thing that you’ll need to do before you make elderflower cordial is to source elderflowers. They grow on elder trees Sambucus nigra, a type of shrubby hedgerow tree that commonly grows across Britain, Europe, parts of North America, and other temperate places in the world. The only other flower that you could get them confused with is rowan flowers, which also grow on early summer-flowering trees. The leaves of elder and rowan are very different though and rowan flowers do not have the beautiful fragrance that elderflowers do.

Foraged Elderflower Cordial Recipe: How to make elderflower cordial using fresh elderflowers and lemon juice. Makes three bottles that you can use in refreshing summer drinks, or to make edible flower desserts and recipes #preserving #homesteading #canning
Rowan flowers look similar to elderflowers but the leaves, scent, and flowers are different

Pick elderflowers on a bright, dry morning, after any dew has evaporated off. Gently place the flowers in a bowl or basket, and take them home to use or to dry that very same day. Do not wash elderflowers before using them, or you’ll remove the flavor. Fresh elderflowers are best for making homemade elderflower cordial, but you can also use dried elderflowers. They’re available to purchase, or you can dry elderflowers on a screen, rack, or a food dehydrator for future use.

Foraged Elderflower Cordial Recipe: How to make elderflower cordial using fresh elderflowers and lemon juice. Makes three bottles that you can use in refreshing summer drinks, or to make edible flower desserts and recipes #preserving #homesteading #canning
Pick around twenty elderflower heads to make elderflower cordial
Foraged Elderflower Cordial Recipe: How to make elderflower cordial using fresh elderflowers and lemon juice. Makes three bottles that you can use in refreshing summer drinks, or to make edible flower desserts and recipes #preserving #homesteading #canning

Elderflower Cordial Recipe

lovelygreens
A sweet and citrusy cordial made with fragrant elderflowers and fresh lemon juice. The recipe yields approximately 1.75 liters of syrup that can be bottled and used within a year. Makes between 2-3 bottles depending on bottle capacity.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 20 mins
Infusing time 1 d
Total Time 1 d 1 hr 20 mins
Course Dessert, Drinks
Cuisine American, British, European
Servings 2 Bottles
Calories 70 kcal

Equipment

  • Sieve
  • Large saucepan
  • Glass bottles

Ingredients
  

  • 20-30 heads fresh Elderflowers or 20 g / 0.7 oz dried elderflowers
  • 1.58 quarts Water 1.5 liters / 50.56 fl oz.
  • 5 cups White granulated sugar 1 kg
  • 3 Unwaxed lemons zested and juiced
  • 2 TBSP Citric acid 30 g

Instructions
 

Infuse the Elderflowers

  • Pick the elderflowers and set them outside on a tea towel or paper towels for a couple of hours. This is to allow any insects hiding in the blossoms to have a chance to escape.
  • Zest and juice the lemons. A lemon zester makes short work of it but you can use a small cheese grater too. Just ensure that you don't remove the white pith, or it can give a bitter flavor. Refrigerate the juice for the next day.
  • Next, pull the white flowers off the green flower stalks/umbels and put them in a heat-proof bowl or tube with the zest. You can use a fork to pull the flowers off but I just use my fingers. The thicker green stalks can make your cordial bitter so try to remove as many of them as possible.
  • Boil the water, then pour over the flowers and zest and let it infuse overnight. You can leave the bowl at room temperature, but make sure to cover it with a kitchen towel.

Prepare the Bottles

  • The next day, run the glass bottles you're using through the dishwasher to sterilize them. Alternatively, you can use a bottle sterilizing solution, as you would in cleaning winemaking equipment. If your bottles do not have plastic tops, you can also sterilize the glass bottles in the oven by washing them, and then placing them inside at 130°C /270°F for thirty minutes.
  • Just before you begin making the cordial, warm the sterilized bottles if they're not warmed already. You can do this in the oven at the lowest setting.

Make Elderflower Cordial

  • Juice the lemons into a bowl. Strain any seeds out.
  • Strain the elderflower infusion through a sieve and place the liquid in a large saucepan along with the juice from the lemons and the citric acid. Warm to a simmer.
  • Next, add the sugar and stir until it's completely dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil before lowering the heat and allow to simmer for ten minutes.
  • Using a funnel, pour the cordial into the bottles*, seal, and allow to cool. If you opt-out on the next step, the cordial has a shelf-life of six months.
  • Water-bathing cordial will ensure that it won't spoil and extends the shelf-life to twelve months. To water bath, place the bottles that you've just filled and sealed in a tall pot of boiling water, submerging them completely. Leave to boil for thirty minutes before lifting the bottles out and allowing them to cool.
  • Once cooled, elderflower cordial can be stored in a cupboard or used right away. Once a bottle is opened, refrigerate it and use it within three weeks.
  • You can use elderflower cordial at a ratio of 1:4 (or your own preference) with champagne, prosecco, sparkling water, lemonade, or another drink of your choice. You can also use it to replace some of the water and/or sugar in cake and dessert recipes.

Video

Notes

* If you’d like to skip bottling your cordial, you can also freeze it. You can do so in bottles/containers, and defrost them as you need one. Alternatively, pour the cordial into ice cube trays, freeze, then store in a bag or plastic container for up to a year. Each standard-sized ice cube is one serving and you can place it in a glass and pour your choice of beverage over it. It may take time to melt into the drink, but it’s a convenient way to preserve elderflower cordial.

Nutrition

Serving: 30mlCalories: 70kcalCarbohydrates: 18gSugar: 18g
Keyword edible flower, elderflower
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

More Elderflower Inspiration

Elderflowers only come out briefly, so if you have some to use, consider making some of these elderflower recipes. They’ll keep you in sweet and delicious recipes for the rest of the year. Elderflowers are also a skincare plant and can improve and brighten the complexion and reduce inflammation. That means that you can use elderflower infusions in handmade creams, lotions, toners, washes, facial mists, and handmade soap.

Foraged Elderflower Cordial Recipe: How to make elderflower cordial using fresh elderflowers and lemon juice. Makes three bottles that you can use in refreshing summer drinks, or to make edible flower desserts and recipes #preserving #homesteading #canning

18 Comments

  1. When you say that it can be stored unopened for a year, where can you store it? Just in your cupboard?
    But then once opened store it in the fridge?

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve used this recipe twice. The first bottle I’m half way through and the second is still warm from the pot. Delicious, and so simple, thank you!

  3. Personally I would stress that you should not rinse the flowers before use, they’ll lose their taste and fragrance , only, as you say,let them rest to debug them. Also it is a good idea to pick them early morning while the dew is still on them or after a slight rain shower .
    Elderflower cordial is the best. Thanks for the recipe Tanya. It’s a good simple one.

  4. Sounds wonderful! I just took a foraging class and was wowed by the flavors, along with the thrill of hunting down indigenous plants during their fleeting moment of bloom! I'm so intrigued by the whole idea of it. Great post – thanks for sharing.

  5. I do so love elderflower cordial. If I haven't left it too late, I might try and make some this week. It's a once a year opportunity after all! Thanks for the recipe Tanya, I especially like the addition of citrus.

  6. Isn't that what the two old ladies served their guests in Arsenic and Old Lace, the play? It sounds delicious, but watch out for additives.

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