Elderflower cordial

The delicate flavours of elderflower cordial, served here with sparking water

Foraging is one of my new favourite things. There is something immensely satisfying about returning home from a walk with a handful of beautiful flowers or leaves and turning them into something delicious. In the last few weeks I’ve made pesto from wild garlic and sugary fritters from the flowers of the acacia tree. This weekend I harvested the creamy heads of the elderflower, infusing them in water, sugar and lemon to make refreshing elderflower cordial. I used less sugar than most recipes which makes the cordial less syrupy but more fragrant. And I didn’t bother with the citric acid that others recommend. Keep it simple and let the flavours speak for themselves.


30 elderflower heads, newly flowering are best
2 litres of water
350g granulated white sugar
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
Keep it simple and don’t add too much sugar


Before you begin, pop the elderflower heads into a bowl of cold water so that any insects have a chance to crawl out…

Put the water in a large pan with the sugar and lemon juice and zest and heat until the sugar dissolves. You don’t need to boil the water for this to happen and it’s best if you don’t. Allow the liquid to cool a little before adding the elderflower heads.

Cover the pan and leave to seep for 24 hours. Then strain into a bowl using a piece of muslin cloth or a clean cotton tea towel.

And that’s it! I poured my cordial into bottles which I’d sterilised in the oven. You can also use plastic bottles to store the cordial. It won’t last as long but given how delicious and refreshing it is you probably won’t have it for more than a week anyway!

Serve with sparking water – or gin!

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