Beverage/ Flowers/ Food/ Foraging

Homemade Elderflower Cordial Recipe

Little White Fresh Elderberry Flowers

Refresh your senses with our homemade elderflower cordial – a burst of floral sweetness in every sip!

We have three elderflower bushes on our dog-walking route. I walk past them every day. They seem to come into bloom from about November until January in Cape Town. And when they do, I am absolutely over the moon! I just love everything that is made with elderflowers. Lately, I have been adding some to infuse in some vodka. And can’t wait to taste those as well. But today, I would love to share our elderflower cordial recipe.

The elderflower cordial recipe is sweet and refreshing and it is perfect for summer days. They are made with only a few ingredients, namely elderflower blossoms, sugar, water, and lemon juice. You can make it at home and it is a great alternative to sugary soft drinks.

How to identify Elderflowers

To fully reap the benefits of elderflowers, it’s important to know how to identify them. Look for dark green leaves with jagged edges and a strong aroma when crushed, often found in groups of five. These leaves were even used as a natural insect repellent! As for the flowers, they start as small green buds before blossoming into creamy, pale yellow sprays. To avoid mistaking them for Pyracantha or cow parsley, which have different characteristics, be sure to properly identify elderflowers before harvesting.

Picking Elderflowers

The secret to making a well-flavoured cordial is to pick flowers early in the morning on a sunny day before it gets too hot, then use as soon as possible. Choose the freshest-looking heads, frothy with creamy-white flowers. Elderflowers are the edible blossoms of the Elder tree, Sambucus nigra.

Picking Elderflowers reaching over the top of the tree

Health benefits of Elderflowers

  • Soothe the symptoms of allergies, such as swollen sinuses and rhinitis.
  • Ease symptoms of colds, flu and bronchitis, such as congestion, fever, inflammation, headaches and swollen glands.
  • Act as a diuretic, easing bloating caused by fluid retention.
  • Reduce runny noses (catarrh).
  • Traditionally herbalists recommend taking elderflowers daily in the allergy season to reduce symptoms.
  • They can also be used topically as they impart anti inflammatory properties, so they’re great for calming irritated skin.

basket full of elderflowers

Picking elderflowers

Picking elderflowers

elderberry flowers and lemons

 

Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • Fresh lemons, of course! When you’re making elderflower cordial, fresh-squeezed lemon juice is a must. Skip the bottled lemon juice, please!
  • Simple syrup – For sweetness. Make a simple syrup with 1kg granulated sugar and 2 l water, or infuse it with fresh basil, ginger or mint for an unexpected twist.
  • Elderflower heads – which can be found on elderberry bushes in the wild or purchased from a florist or online supplier
  • And ice – For a cold, refreshing drink.

Adding elderflowers and lemon to a pot for elderflower cordial recipe

How to make Elderflower Cordial

  • First, begin by gathering your elderflower heads and gently shaking them to remove any insects or debris. Lay the flowers down spread out on the table and let them sit for an hour.
  • Next, make the simple syrup. Try the basil variation for a more complex infused cordial.
  • Then, slice the lemons. Slice all the lemons in rounds.
  • Then, add it all together. Add slices of lemon and all the elderflowers to the hot sugar syrup. Cook for another ten minutes and let the flowers and lemon sit in that water for between 5 to 24 hours.
  • Then strain it through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove any solid bits.
  • Transfer the cordial to sterilized glass bottles or jars and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
  • Pour into glasses filled with sparkling water and ice and top with your desired garnishes. We like lemon wheels and/or sprigs of fresh basil.

Elderflower cordial in a glass

Elderflower cordial can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. It can be diluted with water or sparkling water to make a refreshing drink, or it can be added to cocktails or mocktails for a floral twist. It can also be used to flavor desserts, such as cakes or sorbets.

Making elderflower cordial is not only easy but also a great way to enjoy the flavors of summer. It’s also a more natural and healthier alternative to store-bought soft drinks, which are often filled with artificial flavors and excessive amounts of sugar.

How to grow your own Elderflower bush

  • Elderberry propagation via cuttings should be softwood cuttings. These are the best for propagating elderberries due to the new growth that is just at the cusp of maturity.
  • Take your softwood cuttings in early spring when the plant is just breaking dormancy. Cuttings form new roots from leaf nodes on the stem and, voila, you have a new elderberry plant that is a clone of the parent.
  • Cut the branch into 4- to 6-inch (10-15 cm.) long segments; you should get multiple cuttings from one branch.
  • Pinch off all the leaves from the lower two-thirds of the cutting. Be sure to leave at least one set of leaves at the top.
  • Rooting elderberry cuttings may begin either in water or a soil mix.
  • You can place the trimming cut side down in a jar filled with water, submerging halfway.
  • Put the jar in a sunny area for six to eight weeks, changing the water every so often.
  • Mist the cutting every few days.
  • Roots should begin to form by week eight.
  • They will be more fragile than those begun in soil, so wait until they look sturdy before transplanting them into the garden.

Little White Fresh Elderberry Flowers

 

In Conclusion

In conclusion, elderflower cordial is a delicious and versatile drink that is easy to make at home. With its sweet and floral flavor, it’s the perfect way to enjoy the tastes of summer. So, go ahead and try making your own elderflower cordial – your taste buds will thank you!

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Elderflower cordial recipe

AuthorGypsyCategory, DifficultyBeginner

Enjoy this indulgent Elderflower Cordial. Made with freshly foraged white elderflowers. This drink is so refreshing served with sparkling water and ice. Tangy & sweet.

Elderflower cordial in a glass

Prep Time20 minsCook Time10 minsTotal Time30 mins

 15 Fresh Elderflower Heads
 2 Lemons (Unwaxed)
 2 l Water
 1 kg Sugar
 1 tsp Tartaric Acid (Optional)

1

Pick 15-20 heads of fresh Elderberry flowers. Make sure that the flowers are open and not little buds still. Pick the flowers early in the morning on a warm and sunny day.

Woman holding a basket of freshly picked elderflowers

2

When picking the flowers, make sure you don't pick below waist level, just in case animals urinated on any of your flowers. So, reach for the very top flowers, if you can.

Picking Elderflowers reaching over the top of the tree

3

Lay the flowers down spread out on the table and let them sit for an hour. This allows the little bugs and critters to get off the flowers.

4

Shake the flowers gently, in case there are still some critters hiding in there. And remove all the flowers from the stalks. Place it in a clean bowl. Some people use a fork to get the flowers off. I prefer just cutting them off.

5

In a big pot, add the sugar.

Adding sugar to a pot for elderberry cordial recipe

6

Add the 2 litres of water to the sugar.

Adding water to a pot for elderflower cordial recipe

7

Bring the water and sugar to a boil. Make sure that all the sugar is dissolved.

Boil water and sugar in pot for elderflower cordial recipe

8

Add slices of lemon and all the elderflowers to the hot sugar syrup. Cook for another ten minutes and let the flowers and lemon sit in that water for between 5 and 24 hours.

Adding elderflowers and lemon to a pot for elderflower cordial recipe

9

Strain the liquid through a muslin, nut-milk bag or any clean cloth.

Straining Elderflower cordial through a nut-milk bag

10

Serve your elderflower cordial in a glass by filling it half way with the cordial and fill the rest of the glass with sparkling water and ice!

Elderflower cordial in a glass

11

Enjoy!

Woman holding a glass of elderflower cordial

Ingredients

 15 Fresh Elderflower Heads
 2 Lemons (Unwaxed)
 2 l Water
 1 kg Sugar
 1 tsp Tartaric Acid (Optional)

Directions

1

Pick 15-20 heads of fresh Elderberry flowers. Make sure that the flowers are open and not little buds still. Pick the flowers early in the morning on a warm and sunny day.

Woman holding a basket of freshly picked elderflowers

2

When picking the flowers, make sure you don't pick below waist level, just in case animals urinated on any of your flowers. So, reach for the very top flowers, if you can.

Picking Elderflowers reaching over the top of the tree

3

Lay the flowers down spread out on the table and let them sit for an hour. This allows the little bugs and critters to get off the flowers.

4

Shake the flowers gently, in case there are still some critters hiding in there. And remove all the flowers from the stalks. Place it in a clean bowl. Some people use a fork to get the flowers off. I prefer just cutting them off.

5

In a big pot, add the sugar.

Adding sugar to a pot for elderberry cordial recipe

6

Add the 2 litres of water to the sugar.

Adding water to a pot for elderflower cordial recipe

7

Bring the water and sugar to a boil. Make sure that all the sugar is dissolved.

Boil water and sugar in pot for elderflower cordial recipe

8

Add slices of lemon and all the elderflowers to the hot sugar syrup. Cook for another ten minutes and let the flowers and lemon sit in that water for between 5 and 24 hours.

Adding elderflowers and lemon to a pot for elderflower cordial recipe

9

Strain the liquid through a muslin, nut-milk bag or any clean cloth.

Straining Elderflower cordial through a nut-milk bag

10

Serve your elderflower cordial in a glass by filling it half way with the cordial and fill the rest of the glass with sparkling water and ice!

Elderflower cordial in a glass

11

Enjoy!

Woman holding a glass of elderflower cordial

Homemade Elderflower Cordial

 

 

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Laurie Griggs
    March 6, 2023 at 4:46 pm

    Thanks for sharing this post. I don’t know much about elderflowers except that my friend likes elderflower liqueur (St. Germain). I love creating things from the garden so I found this very interesting! 🙂

    • Reply
      Gypsy
      March 12, 2023 at 6:26 pm

      I love elderflower liqueur as well! and love making it with lemon peels. Def a recipe I am making next summer. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jas
    March 6, 2023 at 6:10 pm

    I’ll have to try this! I collected lots of elder flower last season and still haven’t done much with it which is a shame, I always end up going for the berries.

    • Reply
      Gypsy
      March 12, 2023 at 6:27 pm

      Our bushes never goes into making berries. So strange. Would love to make something with the berries as well. Did you dry your flowers?

  • Reply
    Claudia
    March 6, 2023 at 8:28 pm

    Such a lovely recipe. Great for the warmer times to come!

    • Reply
      Gypsy
      March 12, 2023 at 12:44 pm

      Thank you! And absolutely perfect for summer. I make a big batch and freeze it.

  • Reply
    Jenna
    March 12, 2023 at 6:01 pm

    This sounds so easy and delicious! Floral drinks are always special. Love the health benefits too!

    • Reply
      Gypsy
      March 12, 2023 at 6:29 pm

      Thanks so much Jenna. 🙂 It really is quite delicious. I hope you try it soon.

  • Reply
    Jessica
    March 13, 2023 at 2:25 am

    Thank you for sharing! My wife and I are huge on cultivating from our land and this looks like a great use of our elderflower! Curious to see what other recipes you have.

  • Reply
    passionate foodie
    March 19, 2023 at 5:25 am

    Amazing! First time came across such recipe. I only knew rose drink, but this is something special.

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