The sweet scent of elderflower is spreading in my kitchen. Last year I missed the chance to make the cordial but this year I am happy to share my recipe with you.
When gathering elderflower it is important to remember, that they are the best before they are in full bloom. Also flowers need to be dry. Choose then a dry ,sunny day, sever the stalks carefully with scissors and keep the flowers upright so that pollen (he source of much of that unique flavour and fragrance), will not be lost. Place carefully in a basket. At home trim as much stalk off as you can before use.
25 flower heads
3 lemons (zest and juice)
1 vanilla pod (seeds removed but pod reserved)
1,5 l mineral water
1.Fill a washing up bowl with cold water. Give the flowers a gentle swish around to loosen dirt. Inspect the elderflower heads carefully and remove any insects.
2. Put the sugar and 1.5 litres/2¾ pints water into the large saucepan . Gently heat, without boiling, until the sugar has dissolved. Give it a stir every now and again.
3. Once the sugar has dissolved, bring the pan of syrup to the boil, then turn off the heat.
4. Transfer flower heads (upside down) to the syrup along with the lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla pod and seeds. Cover the pan and leave to infuse for 24 hrs.
5. When you’re ready to strain your cordial, line a fine sieve with muslin over a large bowl (if you don’t have muslin, you can use good quality kitchen towel) and pour through the cordial.
6. Use a funnel to pour the syrup into sterilised bottles. Seal the bottles with swing-top lids, sterilised screw-tops or corks.
The cordial is ready to drink straight away and will keep in the fridge for up to 6 weeks. You can also freeze it in plastic containers or ice cube trays and defrost as needed.
To serve mix with mineral water in proportion 1:5