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.

Print Recipe Print Recipe with Photo

46 Comments to “Elderflower Cordial”

Pages: « 5 4 [3] 2 1 » Show All

  1. Madalene says:

    Dear Ann,

    You can use the cooked flowers from the cordial making stage to make that into a marmalade alongside the pieces of fruit also used in the cordial making.
    I would use only half of the amount of the flowers and more of the fruits.
    Happy Cooking,


  2. Ann W says:

    Regarding marmalade, if you found that putting the elderflowers into hot syrup changed the taste (not for the better) how can you make marmalade from them?
    I have used the fruit only and added the juice of a couple of lemons and sugar and there was no need for added pectin. It turned out great but unclear on using the flowers though?

  3. Madalene says:

    Dear Lynn,

    It’s hard to tell as the flowers are mostly all different sizes, that is why I put the weight. I would say about 20 flower heads should be sufficient.

    Happy Cooking,


  4. Lynn says:

    The recipe says 250g of elderflower heads could you give me an idea of approx. how many this is? (20, 30 , a carrier bagful etc)

    Many Thanks

  5. AnneMarie Sadleir says:

    I have a few strawberries that need using up, would they be OK to add to the Elderflower cordial mix that I have just started amking?

  6. Madalene says:

    Hi Anne Marie,

    Yes it will be lovely and give your cordial a slightly pink tint.

    Happy Cooking,

  7. Janet Cucksey says:

    I just found this on wikipaedia. ‘Elderberry flowers should never be eaten raw as, like the trees’ berries, they contain a mildly poisonous alkaloid, which is destroyed during the cooking process.’ Do you think you should be nibbling them while picking them? Don’t want to lose you to elderflower poisoning!

  8. Madalene says:

    Hi Karen,

    It means that he uses 50% of the flower and fruits left over from making the Elderflower Cordial and the other 50% is jam sugar containing pectin.

    Happy Cooking

  9. Karen Standish says:

    there was a comment left by paul to say he uses the left over fruit and elderflowers to make marmalade what did he mean by 50/50?

    Just made my first batch hoping it tastes as yummy as it sounds Ta

  10. Madalene says:

    Hi Lucy,

    Make sure you sterilize the bottles or containers that you keep the cordial in, it should last for up to three months. I had some home made elderflower cordial in my fridge for up to a year and it was perfectly fine.

    Happy Cooking


Pages: « 5 4 [3] 2 1 » Show All

Leave a Comment