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. Dianne says:

    Hi – I wish I had found your recipe before I made mine, like a previous comment – less sugar! So it is saved for next year.
    I always put my cordial in clean, sterilised bottles but the top of the cordial is showing signs of going mouldy. I am aware of the hazards of botulism but before I pour it down the sink is there any possibility of rescuing it?
    Many thanks

  2. Jo W says:

    Spent a long time trawling the internet for the cordial that best suited my needs… less sugar in this one! Is it ok to leave it in the fridge for longer than 48 hours before sieving and bottling? Was going to make it today and bottle it on Wednesday when I’ve got some bottles!

  3. Abigail Reeves says:

    I’m thinking to have a go with meadowsweet blossoms, any suggestions as to whether I can use the same recipe / method as with elderflowers?

  4. Edward says:

    Campden tablets – available online or in brewers shops – will make your cordial last all year without refridgeration.

    We use some oranges (satsumas are very good) in our mix – I think it gives it a better colour!


  5. Shop Flowers says:

    This is a great idea, thank you so much. I wonder if this is possible to do with other edible flowers.

  6. Mamma Ball says:

    This was wonderful- had some trouble getting citric acid initially but the cordial was divine. Made some into jelly which was delicious- so fragrant and have frozen the rest into ice cube trays- brilliant to just pop in a glass and top up with sparkling water.

  7. Diana says:

    This is a delicious recipe of elderflower cordial.
    Only one problem though: it only made about 1.4l of cordial.

  8. jeanette says:

    how long can i keep picked elderflwers before use, is it best to keep them cool in dark?

  9. Madalene says:

    Dear Jeanette,

    You should use them as soon as you picked them. The flowers goes off and get a strange taste, use them fresh for the best results.

    Happy Cooking,

  10. Ann W says:

    Thank you so much Madalene, I am about to have a go…watch this space ;-)

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