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Eldeflower Cordial §

When it's elderflower season, why not treat yourself to a heart-racing drink of elderflower cordial?! We tried our hand at some foraging and cordial-making using BBC Good Food's recipe

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 24 hours

Makes: 1.5l


1250g white sugar 1 lemon 10 elderflower heads, stalks trimmed 45g citric acid, or if you can't find 90g lemon juice

1. Respect your elder(flower)s

The first step in making your cordial is to connect with the land, and forage for some elderflower. They will be in bloom from May to mid June and can be identified as large umbrellas of flowers with 5 petals and serrated leaves. It is best to pick them on a hot sunny day, and choose flowers that are fully open with no brown wilted parts. If you are unsure on identification, the Irish Kitchen has a great guide to possible confusions.

You will need to pick 10 elderflower heads for this recipe, never strip a tree completely of flowers. If you are new to foraging, check out some guidelines here from the UK's Woodland Trust. Give the flowers a good shake when picking to get any bugs off - but also give them a rinse in a bowl of cold water when you're home

A rough guide to what 10 heads of elderflower looks like

2. You are cordially invited

Weigh out 1250g of sugar into a pan, with 750ml of water. You are legally required to be horrified at how much sugar this is....Put this on the hob on a very low heat until all of the sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally

While the sugar mixture is heating up, denude your lemon lemon by peeling the peel into strips and cutting the body lemon in to slices. Also weigh out 45g of citric acid (or 90ml of lemon juice)

As soon as the sugar mixture comes to the boil, turn it off straight away and add the lemon slices, peel, elderflower heads and citric acid/lemon juice

Stir the mixture to make sure everything is combined, cover with a lid and leave for 24 hours

The cordial should now have a darker colour, and the elderflower will be slightly wilted. Place a clean teatowel over a bowl and pour the cordial through. Gather together and squeeze the cordial through to strain out the lemon and elderflower pieces (as well as any bugs that didn't come out in the wash) you should be left with a clear(ish) thick liquid

Add a little elderflower cordial to a glass and top up with water, sparkling water or even prosecco if you're feeling fancy! It should look a little like chlorine in a pool, shimmery and shiny but adjust the amount to taste. Put the rest of the cordial into a sterilised bottle.

Dink and drink!

Food for Thought

Lizzy says: "The panic induced by having to forage in central London was real - I ended up foraging from three separate elder trees (the first on I visited an old lady jumped out at me and I got spooked and fled and the next had just been trimmed so I had to stand on my tip toes to get to the flowers). I think because of the risky foraging trip that I didn't pick enough elderflower and this meant that the end result was sort of just like a sugary water with floral notes. I don't know if I would attempt this again, because I really didn't need to know how much sugar was in cordial.. but it was fun to put my foraging skills to use! 4/10"

Kate says: "Armed with our new found foraging skills, Lizzy was keen to finally make some elderflower cordial. I was also in, especially when I discovered an absolute motherlode of elderflower near to my home in Munich (sidenote: I can't leave the house now without seeing elderflower trees, they are everywhere!) This was a very easy and rewarding recipe, little effort but maximum impressiveness. Also 1.5l of elderflower cordial is far too much for one person especially if your heart starts racing when you drink it as mine does - so this would be great to put into little bottles and gift to people 10/10 (An addendum: I am re-visiting this review a week later because I didn't sterilise my bottle properly and now my cordial has mould in :')) so I think I will dock it a point because even though it's scrum, there is no conceivable way to consume 1.5l of cordial in less than a week 9/10)

6.5/10 Gasps


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