British elderflower season generally starts early May and end towards the end of June. Elderflowers are buttery in colour and grow in clusters in hedgerows. A staple of British summer time, elderflower cordial is a very versatile ingredient and can be used for a variety of cakes, jellies, drinks and puddings. Normally made with a huge amount of refined sugar we’ve made ours with honey instead for a healthier version! It’s important to make your cordial within two hours of picking your flowers while the flowers are fresh.
“Elderflower has been used in traditional medicine all over the world in many different cultures due to its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. The most common uses are for colds and flu, sinus infections, and other respiratory disturbances.” (1)
- 25-30 fresh elderflower heads (clusters)
- 150ml Orange Blossom honey
- 2 lemons cut into quarters
- 2 oranges cut into quarters
- 3 litres of cold water
- 1 clean, dry muslin or jelly bag for straining
- Sterilised bottles
- Remove the big stalks from your elderflower heads and give the flowers a good shake to dislodge any insects that might be lurking.
- In a large saucepan or bowl add your cold water and honey and stir to dissolve (no need to heat)
- Add your chopped up lemons and oranges and then your elderflowers. Stir to mix ensuring all flowers are covered by the water.
- Cover with a lid or cloth and leave for 24 hours. Don’t be worried if the mix smells a bit odd at this point – it has been described as a little bit like ‘cat wee’ but don’t let this put you off – once it’s infused overnight it will smell amazing!
- Remove the flowers and lemons with a spoon and strain your cordial through a muslin cloth or jelly bag.
- Taste – and add more honey if you need to or prefer it sweeter.
- Transfer to sterilised bottles and keep in the fridge!
K&H TipElderflowers are best picked in the mornings and avoid picking flowers found on the roadside. Mix into sparkling water, champagne, icing, frostings and jellies!
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