Foraging on the Walthamstow Marshes is one of our favourite pastimes. This year the elderflowers are absolutely amazing, so aromatic and abundant. We picked two carrier bags full in only half an hour, our hands were turning yellow with the amount of pollen all over us – but the great thing was we were stopped twice by curious folk wondering what we were picking and what we were planning to do with the flowers. We loved swapping recipes with a group from Holland.
So we decided to make a simple elderflower cordial.
1 bag of elderflowers
1 kg of sugar
1.5 litres of water
Pick over the flowers – shaking off the insects and trimming off the leaves and stalks. Heat the water in a large pan, add in the sugar (we used naturally unrefined sugar from the 99p shop). Dissolve the sugar, then add the elderflowers (I’ve no idea how many it was – a big bowl full) and add the zest and juice of the lemons and orange.
Cover and leave to cool and infuse for a minimum of 24 hours and a maximum of 5 days. Many recipes add citric acid as a preservative but we decided to go natural by relying on just the sugar and acid from the citrus fruit.
After 3 days we strained the cordial and bottled it into re-used, sterilised kilner top and screw cap bottles.
We’ve made more than 5 litres. It’s not too sweet and isn’t a thick cordial that will need a lot of diluting – but we’ll be adding it to cava, sparkling water, cake and pancake batters and poured over ice-cream over the next few weeks to add a heady taste of summer.