This is free food, elderflowers grow on hedgerows from June to mid July in England, so all you need is a sunny day (elderflowers have a better aroma and consequently better flavour if picked when it’s sunny) and a pair of scissors. Citric acid can be purchased from chemists, make sure you buy one suitable for culinary use. The elderflowers need to steep in the sugar syrup for 24 hours so begin the day before you wish to bottle the syrup.
You’ll also need 3 x 75cl clean bottles with stoppers, sterilised just before use.
30 elderflower heads
1.5 litres water
1 kg caster sugar
50g citric acid
- Thoroughly wash the elderflower heads under cold running water and give them a good shake to remove any small insects that may be living in them. Leave them to drain.
- Boil 1.5 litres of water and pour over the sugar to dissolve it, leave to one side until cool.
- Add the citric acid to the cool stock syrup, zest the lemon then thickly slice the remaining lemon and add to the syrup.
- Press the elderflower head under the syrup until they are all totally submersed, place an upside down plate on top with a weight to keep the flowers under the liquid, cover with clingfilm and leave at room temperature for 24 hours.
- Sterliise your bottles by putting them through the dishwasher.
- Place a piece of muslin (great for using up leftover muslin from Christmas Pu
dding making), if you don’t have any then use a clean J-cloth rinsed out in boiling water, line a sieve with the muslin or J-cloth and pour the syrup through it, squeezing out the elderflowers to squeeze ever single drop of cordial out of the flowers.
- Use a funnel to decant the cordial into the sterilised bottles, seal and enjoy with water, sparkling water, as a sauce over ice cream, made into elderflower jellies or ice cream or used to make my Elderflower and Gooseberry Cupcakes from my APP Cupcakes Muffins and Afternoon Tea available on iPad on the APP store.