Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Elderflower Cordial

I do not normally show recipes on this blog, but I would like to encourage you to get out into the countryside and collect some Elderflower blossom, which is in flower now, and make this delicious drink. 
Tips
Pick the blossom early on a warm dry morning.
Do not pick blossom from the roadside, find somewhere well away from exhaust fumes.
Only pick the blossom that has just opened and is creamy coloured - no buds and no flowers that are getting past their best.
The recipe uses Citric acid which used to be available from chemists. They no longer stock it due to drug users doing something with it!
You can buy the Citric acid from wine and brewery making shops, and as long as you look respectable and say you want it for making Elderflower Cordial they will happily sell it to you.
Use only unwaxed lemons.
Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus 24 hours steeping.
Sterilise glass bottles, wash well, rinse in boiling water, then dry in a preheated oven at 190C/gas 5 for 15 minutes. Leave to cool.
Ingredients
roughly 25 heads of elderflower.
3 unwaxed lemons, which you zest first and then slice.
2kg sugar.
75g Citric acid.
l.1 litres of cold water
Method
1.Shake the flower heads to remove any errant bugs, and place in a very large, heatproof bowl with the lemon slices. I do not slice all three lemons as I like to use some of the squeezed juice in the cordial. In large saucepan set over low heat dissolve sugar in water. Bring to boil, then stir in the citric acid and lemon zest along with lemon juice if like me you choose to do that. Pour hot liquid over the blossom and lemon slices. Cover with clingfilm and set aside in a cool place to steep for at least 24 hours.
2.Strain into a jug through muslin or fine cloth. Divide between jars or bottles. Seal tightly and keep in a cool, dark place. Use within 2/3 months. Once each bottle is opened keep in fridge for up to one month.
Cordial can be diluted with iced sparkling mineral water, tonic water, soda water or just plain water. You can also add it to gin and vodka. It can flavour homemade vanilla or bought ice cream, and is especially delicious when added to dishes featuring gooseberries.
H says the aroma and scent from this steaming, steeping mixture is wonderful - leave for at least 24 hours.
I find it easier to remove the blossom and lemon first and squash it against a fine mesh sieve to get all of the juice out.
Put all of the liquid back together and strain through a clean cloth.
Some garden flowers and cordial for a dear friend who is ill.

42 comments:

  1. Hello Rosemary:
    Elderflower Cordial is the perfect drink for hot summer days. It is so blissfully refreshing and complements languishing one's time away so beautifully.

    We have a coffee shop near to us here which sells long drinks of Elderflower Cordial and, as the temperature is currently 25C, we have the weather for it too. Off we go!!!!!

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    1. Hello Jane and Lance - lucky you with lovely temperatures. As you say just the right weather for languishing your time away with a nice glass of cold Elderflower Cordial.
      I usually make it most years as it is so easy compared to the delicious results that it gives. Cheers!!!

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  2. Your recipe sounds as though it would produce a mighty fine drink. Is the result similar to limencello?

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    1. No, it doesn't really Mark - it is difficult to describe. It has quite an intense but soft floral flavour with a touch of lemon, and that is why it is necessary to dilute it. You can probably try it for yourself as I see Martha Stewart is recommending people to make it. Elderflower shrubs apparently grow in Northern America. She says you can also buy it over with you made by St. Germain. It is a very refreshing summer drink.
      You have reminded me that we bought a bottle of limoncello back from Sicily which we have not opened yet.

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  3. something I've never heard of! Sounds good! Hope your friend gets better!

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    1. Dear Roanna - the elderflower shrub grows all over Europe, if you see any, have a go. I wish so much that my friend would get better, but the prognosis is not good.

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  4. Hi, Rosemary - Thank you for sharing this recipe, and for your beautiful photos. You are wonderful stylist and photographer. Elderflower cordial sounds perfect for these warm weather days. Might be a challenge for me to find a shrubbery here in the city of DC. I'll have to settle for store bought. Loi
    PS - Enjoyed your nigella quiz.....was looking forward to the answer today :-)

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    1. Dear Loi - glad you enjoyed the Nigella quiz, I may do another sometime.
      I agree, it would be difficult to find an Elderflower shrub in the city of DC, you really need the wide open countryside. The store cordial is very good, and I believe it is made using similar ingredients.

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  5. Rosemary...

    Elderflower cordial is delicious! My kids made some with their dad ,last year, and it was fantastic! A friend of mine also made a sparkling elderflower wine, which was really good and just lovely for Summer.

    When I go to Italy I pick Sorrento lemons from a tree at the back of our house, by some alcohol and make limoncello (I have a recipe on my blog, in fact!) which is very good, but at times a bit too sweet and strong. G&T for me with lots of ice and limes, or Moet&Chandon, if I'm very, very lucky!

    I love the bright, Summery photos, Rosemary! Lovely vivid colours, just the way I like them!

    HUGS

    ANNA
    x

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    1. Dear Anna - I have never met anyone who does not like Elderflower cordial. It just feels as if you are bottling a little bit of summer. One of my followers is making Elderflower champagne at the moment and I am looking forward to seeing how he gets on with it. Perhaps I may give it a try next year.
      G & T with ice and limes or Moet & Chandon, yes, I agree, you are a lucky girl Anna.
      Glad you enjoyed the photos.
      I left a message on your blog - did you see it?

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    2. Hi Rosemary! I read your message and resized, but stil... doesn't work! After 3 images it stop uploading. It's frustrating!

      CIAO!

      ANNA
      xx

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    3. Dear Anna - that is because you have filled up the blogger space. You will have to try and remove some of the images that you have uploaded previously to make room. Be careful that you do not remove any images you want. We often upload photos that we do not necessarily want, if you can remove about 10 or 15 photos that will free your capacity and then you can upload to your hearts content because the new photos will occupy no space as far as blogger is concerned. Hope you understand what I am saying.
      All of your images are stored in Picasa which you can get to from behind your blog.

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    4. I did it! I uploaded images from Picasa... it was quick and easy!

      Thanks for your help.

      ANNA
      xx

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    5. Well done - pleased to have been of help. Take care♥ Ciaox

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  6. I don't believe I 've een these flowers here in Norway. But I will check out the name -anything for a tasty drink ; )

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    1. They should be growing in Norway Demie. They have large heads of creamy tiny flowers, and a very distinctive smell. May be some locals could point you in the right direction. It is well worth making and so simple and quick. In the autumn the little creamy flowers turn into tiny black berries which you can also make wine from. A useful little hedgerow shrub.

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  7. Dear Rosemary,

    Your elderflower cordial sounds good. I made it last year, but unfortunately it did not taste too well. Perhaps I will give it another try this year.

    Your garden flowers look very pretty. Hope your friend will feel better soon!

    Madelief x

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    1. Dear Madelief - that is a shame. You are the first person I have heard of where the cordial did not taste good. Give it another try and hopefully you will be rewarded with some good flavour.
      I have a heavy heart where my friend is concerned, the news is not good, but I appreciate your kind thoughts.

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  8. That is a lovely recipe Rosemary and sounds very tasty as an addition to ice cream. I wonder what elderflower sorbet would taste like! Your photos are beautiful and superbly styled.

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    1. I should think that that would be something nice to do with it, may be with some gooseberries added too.
      You are kind about the photos, I was really taken with the way you had done yours.

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  9. Oh my goodness your images are stunning. The one with the grouping of ingredients could be hung in any kitchen as a lovely still life.

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    1. That is a very generous comment - thank you Olive.

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  10. Thanks for this post, rosemary. I haven’t make cordial from flowers. This is so British, isn’t it? Elderflower Cordial would be equivalent to my Honey Sour with Ume (Japanese apricot) which is made out fresh use fruits, vinegar, and honey. I drink it diluted with water or soda. All your kitchen utensils and tableware are lovely and must make your time in kitchen more enjoyable. These lovely garden flowers and the Elderflower cordial will surely have healing effect.

    Yoko

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    1. Dear Yoko - Your Honey Sour with Ume sounds very interesting. I am sure it is a similar type of thing.
      Elderflower cordial is an old English recipe, but you can now, I think, buy it all over the world. Thank you for your lovely comments.

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  11. Having no elderberries here, I will take a sip from yours Rosemary.
    I drank it once many years ago with friends whilst in UK.
    Here its fresh lemon aid for me.. lemons from manel's trees.
    I wish your dear friend a speedy recovery.
    val

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    1. Dear Val - I have never used the elderberries, but I do know that people use it to make a wine. I love fresh lemon aid it is so refreshing. The elderflower cordial has lemon in it too.
      I am very sad about my friend her prognosis is not good.
      I see you have decided to leave your sidebar as it is for the moment. Sometimes that is the best thing to do if you are not sure, and there is no one beside you if things go wrong.

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  12. Thank you so much for posting this! I still have an unopened bottle of Elderflower Cordial I brough home with me from my last visit to the UK. I hope it is still good. One of my favorite British memories (along with a great recipe for scones and Sticky Toffee Pudding) is the delight in dicovering Elderflower Cordial!
    I'm a huge gardener,(Canadian living in USA) and hope my Elderflowers will be as good as those on the UK.

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    1. Dear Sandra - thank you for your visit. I am sure you will find that your Elderflowers are just as good, and that your unopened bottle, if airtight, will be fine.
      Thanks for your visit, if you make some, please let me know how you get on.
      I too love the garden, please do visit again.

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  13. What a delicious recipe!

    The flowers for your friend are beautiful!

    All the best!
    ♥ Franka

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    1. It is a very delicious summer drink Franka - thanks for your visit♥

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  14. Rosemary, I have never even considered making this, though I buy it regularly at very steep prices. This post is wonderful - I feel a project coming on. If only it would stop raining....

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    1. The blooms will be around for a week or two yet Kate. Hopefully next week the sun will shine every day, and you can give it a try. You can get the little family to help you collect the blossom and also the making. Very simple to do, and delicious.

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  15. Dear Rosemary
    Thank you very much for your nice words. . I could not live a long time in the office chair to look at Kiew Grdens , so I did not take part in the tender flower. The recipe that you posted for this cool drink is refreshing and appropriate for us now that the heat started ..How is the weather there ?
    Have a nice night
    Olympia

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    1. Dear Olympia I am so pleased that you did not spend lots of time looking for the flower, it is important that you relax and take care of yourself. So many people suffer with their backs which I know can be very very painful.
      The weather here was very hot, but sadly in the last few days it has reverted to cold, wet weather. Send me some of your lovely warm weather please.

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  16. Τhanks so much for the little heart!
    Olympia

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    1. Dear Olympia because you are special.

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  17. I love elderflower syrup! Nothing tastes like it! The garden flowers are pretty! Christa

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    1. You are right it is delicious and has a very unique flavour.

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  18. That is very kind Tina, and thanks for your visit.

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  19. I adore elderflower, have been trying to make in the last 3 weeks twice a lemonade:-) and almost every eve I am enjoying fresh elderflower tea-thanks for theis recipe and the beautiful pics!

    happy sunday from me!

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    1. Hello Jana - thanks for your lovely comment and for becoming a follower. Hope you may give this recipe a try before the blossom is finished.

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