It’s Elderflower Time! Make some cordial

Boy the Younger took the photo. Shame it wasn't Boy the Elder.

We love squashes and cordials and every year I make a large batch of Elderflower Cordial.  Elder is rife absolutely everywhere and it should be easy to find enough heads to make at least a few bottles.  I usually buy a few of those flat bottles with the self-bunging corks to give as summer gifts to people I like.  Food presents are always welcome.

As long as you sterilize the bottles properly, the cordial will last a long time.  If you make absolutely loads, a Camden tablet popped into each bottle will kill off the yeasts and allow you to store your cordial almost indefinitely – chemists can usually supply these.

If you can, pick the cream coloured elderflower heads on a warm, sunny afternoon.  The starches will be higher then and the resultant cordial will be sweeter.  Dilute the cordial  with still or fizzy water (1 part cordial to 10 parts water – approx).  Delicious.

2 x large pans
1 x large sieve
sheets of muslin to line a sieve OR a jelly bag
1 x funnel
1 x large spoon for scum skimming
Glass bottles

35 elderflower heads
3 pints / 1.75l  water
3lb / 1.5k white granulated sugar
3 lemons – sliced
2oz / 60g tartaric or citric acid

Sterilize your bottles like this
or fill the bottles with hot water right to the top, to which has been added 1 Camden tablet and leave for the prescribed time. Empty out the water just before you are ready to fill the bottle.

Place the elderflowers, water, sugar and lemons into the pan
Put the pan onto a low heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved
Remove from the heat and add the citric or tartaric acid
Cover the pan and leave to infuse overnight
Strain the liquid into a large pan
Then strain it again through the muslin or jelly bag – I do this twice to reduce any light residue
Using the funnel, fill each sterilized bottle, leaving about an inch and a half of space at the top
Wipe clean and seal
Attach suitable labels including the date on which it was made



Filed under Food, Food Presents, Hedgerows, Recipes, Seasonal

7 responses to “It’s Elderflower Time! Make some cordial

  1. Sue


    It’s a lovely drink isn’t it?

  2. Aha! Great tips there, does using a Camden tablet apply to all homemade drinks?

    • wartimehousewife

      Cathy: If you want them to have any kind of shelf life, otherwise they start to go off. I usually make bathces big enough to last nearly a year, so you need a preservative. This doesn’t apply to wines and spirits though (although they don’t last nearly as long!!!)

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