Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Making Elderflower Cordial
45 Elderflower heads
1 kilo of caster sugar (about 2 1/4 lbs)
5 lemons, zested and juiced
6 tablespoons citric acid (you can easily find food grade citric acid online and in some health food stores)
2 litres of water, plus a little more to melt both the sugar and the citric acid
Optional: a handful of fresh mint leaves
Elderflower grows like crazy all around our house, so it was easy to find. Its usually in bloom in June, but this year everything has come out late, so early July was when we harvested ours. You want to harvest them when the flowers are pretty fully in bloom, and never take more than half from a tree, as birds will feed on the berries they'll produce in the fall. Share and share alike! Also, in some areas (like ours), elderflower grows profusely along the sides of roads, but ideally you want to harvest flowers that haven't been absorbing a lot of car fumes, so look a little further afield if you can.
You can strain the mixture through a fine sieve or cheesecloth, and use a sterilized funnel to pour it into your (sterilized) bottles.
You can see how concentrated my mixture was from the deep yellow color; most elderflower cordial is a lot paler in hue than this. My cordial tastes good at a ratio of 1 part syrup to four parts water. Because this only lasts about a month, I didn't make too much. Next time, though, I'll make more, and freeze it into ice cubes which I'd then store in freezer bags. That way I could just thaw what I wanted in advance, and have it to drink year round. Yum!