In honour of today, the summer solstice, in this blog post I’m going to give you super easy instructions on how to make elderflower cordial. Elders tend to grow in ditches, along roadsides and in swampy areas so this is where you want to go looking for them. Identify them by their clusters of creamy white flowers and oval, feather-edged leaves. They also have hollow stems which were once used as bellows by blacksmith! There is lots of folklore attached to the elder and it’s been used as medicine for a very long time. It’s said that if you find that an elder self seeds in your garden, negative influences, evil spirits and lightening will be prevented from entering your home. They are also said to be inhabited by witches, so never burn them and always ask permission before you take any of the plant!
Ideally pick them in the morning when their scent is at it’s sweetest, and try not to pick them immediately after rain as all the pollen will have been washed away. Also, please show some foraging etiquette and make sure you don’t take all the flowers from one tree. Not only will the tree and it’s reliant wildlife not thank you, but there will be nothing left to turn into fruit which we can then pick in the autumn!
- You will need:
- About 30 heads of elderflowers
- 2 litres of water
- Zest and juice from 1 lemon & 1 orange
- 400g of sugar (or to taste – this is not as sweet a version as you often find, but that’s how I like it)
- Once you have pick all your flowers, go through each one, tapping gently to get rid of any little hiding bugs
- Place them in a large saucepan or other container that has a lid
- Add the fruit, water and sugar
- Cover and leave for 48 hours
- Strain the liquor though a muslin cloth
- Store in sterilised bottles (either run through a hot dishwasher, or put them in the oven for 20 minutes)
As long as all the equipment you have used is clean, this should last very well in airtight bottles. I still have a bottle left over in my fridge from last summer which is perfectly good.
And enjoy! I love mine with sparkling water over ice. Cheers and happy Solstice! If in addition to wanting to know how to make elderflower cordial, you would like to read more about the summer solstice, you can read by blog about it here. You can also watch the reel of me making this delicious elixir if you check out my Instagram below.