June 7th, 2009


Elderflower Cordial

I have been on the elderflower watch for a few weeks and finally this week they were in full bloom. There were a few bushes by the road side with lovely big flowers, however I’m cautious to harvest them as they would be drenched in petrol fumes and covered with pollution.

As we live in a small village there are a few public foot paths near by. Between the heavy rain showers we  ventured out to forage for healthy fresh elderflowers. The season is short and as we all know  theyonly bloom once a year between end of May to the second week of June. As we were picking the elderflowers we were smelling  and nibbling them. We agreed that it smells and tastes like green almonds. My brain started to work over time and I was day dreaming about all the different dishes that I could make. As it smelt of almonds I thought it would make a pretty cool almond milk and elderflower panacotta or it would be a wonderful flavour addition to a gooseberry and elderflower chutney spiked with slithers of almonds.

After all the day dreaming I was pretty pleased that we have managed to harvest our crop for this year, so it was time to head home to make my precious batch of elderflower cordial for this season.

I make a batch each year and it normally lasts pretty well. It’s a saviour when I need to make a special dessert or serve a luscious drink on a hot summers day.

As we were in elderflower heaven we ended up making a few different dishes that will feature later on this month. We made elderflower tempura to garnish a lovely elderflower and English wine jelly, it’s lovely and slightly different.

Matthew Fort writes about his grandmothers elderflower champagne which sounds absolutely fantastic and I shall have a go at making this next year as I have already made cordial for this year.

Hurry and go elderflower foraging soon before it’s too late.


  • 250g elderflowers, cleaned
  • 1.1L  water
  • 900g caster sugar
  • 50g citric acid
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 limes

Bring the water to the boil, pour the boiling water over the sugar. Stir to dissolve and let it cool completely.

Wash and cut the lemons and limes in quaters and add to the stock syrup.

Pick the elderflowers and remove any dead bits and leaves. Place the elderflowers in a colander and wash under cold running water.

Let the elder flowers drain while the stock syrup cools.

Once the stock syrup is cold add the elderflowers and the citric acid, mix and place the mixture in a deep container in the fridge, place a layer of clingfilm directly on top of the mixture.

Let the cordial infuse for 48 hours, stir a couple of times during this period.

Pass the cordial through a fine sieve and pour into sterilised bottles. Keep refrigerated.

Makes aproxiamtly 2 litres of elderflower cordial

Food Fanatics Tips

If you add the elderflowers to they syrup while it's still boiling hot you will scorch the flowers and it will change the taste of the cordial. I have made this mistake in the past and the end result is not pleasant. Instead of keeping the cordial in bottles you can pour the cordial into ice cube trays and freeze them, this saves space and it will keep slightly longer.

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46 Comments to “Elderflower Cordial”

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  1. MarKRay says:

    If elderflower cordial has mould on top is it still safe to drink? it tastes and smells OK!

    Would re-boiling kill off anything nasty?




    If you carefully skim the mould off, pass the cordial slowly through a fine sieve, bring it back to the boil BUT make sure there is no mould left, boil for 5 minutes.

    Pour back into a clean sterilized container and keep refrigerated, then it should be fine.

  2. Ang says:

    I’ve just made my elderflower champagne – tried it last year for the first time and it was fab! Really simple to do. As I live in Scotland our flowerheads are just about perfect at the moment.

  3. sue says:

    although we sterlised everything our cordial has mould after only 2 weeks any suggestions

    Dear Sue,

    I was worried that this might happen, sometimes the sugar contain bacteria. I wrote on my recipe to pour hot boiling water over the sugar but if you to bring the water and dissolved sugar to the boil and rapid boil for two minutes, then cool it down before you add your the rest of the ingredients and the flowers you should have a better result. I freeze my cordial to avoid the risk of fermentation, perhaps that is what you should do next time.

    Hope you have better success next year.

  4. caryl says:

    So glad to find your tip about freezing the elderflower cordial, how long should it last in the freezer?

    Hi Caryl, my cordial lasted one year in the freezer. I used it sparingly so that I had just enough until the new seasons batch was ready. There is nothing that can turn or go funny or do any harm.
    Hope it helps,

  5. missbliss says:

    Just waiting for my first batch of elderflower cordial to brew. It was a nightmare finding the citric acid though!

    Hi Missbliss,

    Hope your elderflower cordial turns out delicious. You should be able to find citric acid from most chemist or via the internet.
    Hope you have better luck next season.

    Happy Cooking

  6. Earlier this year I saw trees that I thought were elderflower but wasn’t sure. I’m definitely going to check them out next year – this sounds like fun and delicious.

  7. Suzie says:

    I love elderflower cordial, mixed with sparkling water it’s delicious with gin!

    This weekend is our annual elderflower weekend – fritters, cordial, jelly and something not yet decided with gooseberries. Then the rest have got to be left for the delicious berries!!

  8. Helen says:

    I’ve been looking for elderflowers but not hard enough! I would imagine they will be covered in pollution as I live in London – everything is covered in pollution including all the vegetables I grow on my balcony as I live on a main road!

    Hi Helen,
    If you rinse your vegetables in a mild solution of Milton and water your balcony vegies should be clean enough to enjoy.

    Venture out of London for the Elderflowers, I think that they are coming near to their end now, especially after the rain. Good luck in finding them.


  9. Lou says:

    Lovely! I love elderflower cordial it is so refreshing, and your’s looks so pretty in the bottle too. The idea of of an elderflower champagne sounds gorgeous and definitely worth trying out!

  10. Y says:

    Love the idea of homemade elderflower champagne. One day I’d like the opportunity to pick my own flowers too.

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