Christ Church Living

Making elderflower cordial

Every year we gather elderflower blooms from the Field next to the churchyard to make refreshing elderflower cordial. We fill the fridge and freezer with it to see us through the summer. I usually post a picture on our Instagram or Facebook page of a basket full of frothy blooms as it is one of our summer foraging highlights!

I am often asked for the recipe so I thought that I would share it here for anyone who may like to make their own… and I strongly urge you to try as it is sooo much nicer than shop bought cordial!

When picking elderflowers it is important to select trees that are away from busy roads or areas that have been sprayed. My top tip is to only pick blooms with fresh yellow pollen on them i.e. those that have only just opened. If the petals or pollen are starting to brown then leave them on the tree (otherwise they will make your cordial smell of cat pee!)

The recipe I use is from Sophie Grigson’s Country Kitchen cookbook.

It makes around 1.5 litres (2 1/2 pints) of cordial.

You will need:

20 creamy full heads of elderflowers

1.8kg (4lb) granulated sugar

1.2 litres (2 pints) water

2 unwaxed lemons

75g (2 1/2 oz) citric acid (available from chemists and Ebay)

Put elderflowers in a large bowl.

Put sugar in a pan with the water and bring up to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

While the sugar syrup is heating, pare the zest of the lemons and put into the bowl with the elderflowers. Slice the lemons, discard the ends and put slices into the bowl.

Pour over the boiling sugar syrup and add the citric acid, giving it all a stir.

Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave for 24 hours.

Next day strain the cordial through a sieve lined with muslin and pur into thoroughly cleaned glass or plastic bottles (plastic ones are good if you want to freeze your cordial).

Store in fridge once opened.

The cordial is best mixed with sparkling water.


Victor gathering elderflowers back in 2014