Long summer evenings, the sounds of buzzing bees and children playing outside, the smell of honeysuckle or the thrill of Wimbledon. We all have something that says to us that the summer has begun, even if it’s not the weather!
For me, it’s the Elderflower bursting out of the hedgerows, with it’s beautiful white flowers like little clouds of deliciousness. The very essence of British summertime.
I was leaning over my neighbour’s fence one afternoon last week to give him some of my abundance of radishes and I noticed he had an elderflower hanging over his fence. Ten minutes later, I was in possession of a basket of elderflower heads, a recipe that has been followed for 40 years and a bottle of homemade cordial to try!
Whilst I have always enjoyed their scent and their pretty flowers, I have never made anything with them, thinking it would be too complicated. Turns out, I was wrong, and elderflower cordial is as easy to make as it is delicious!
This generations old recipe is as follows:
- 3 lemons
- 4 pints water
- 3 lbs sugar
- 20-25 elderflower heads
- 3 oz citric or tartaric acid
I had no idea where to buy citric or tartaric acid, but luckily my neighbour told me our local chemist sells citric acid in 50g packs and that would do the trick nicely.
The instructions were relatively simple:
- Pick elderflowers when the sun is on them.
- Squeeze lemons, then chop up skins and put in pan with sugar, dissolve and bring to the boil.
- Add elderflower heads and bring to the boil again, add citric acid and lemon juice.
- Squeeze lemons and elderflower heads.
- Strain and bottle when cool. Store in the refrigerator.
So after a relatively short time I had 2 and a half litres (I’m from the metric generation!) of delicious, fresh, summer tasting elderflower cordial.
Enjoy yours with cold fresh water or some fizzy water for a delicious homemade presse. Or of course you could add some to your favourite bottle of bubbly with mint and cucumber for a fantastic summer evening cocktail.