Or… how to make sure you’re not making cow parsley cordial !
This elderflower cordial recipe is a slight change from our normal blog posts, but this is perfect for young and old alike. Very refreshing, and great at this time of year and into the summer months.
However, having chatted to a friend recently (who mistakenly made a whole batch of cow parsley cordial) I thought I’d better start at the beginning.
From early June (in the South) Elderflower will start to appear, later, as you go North. Typically found in hedgerows, but can be almost anywhere.
Typical elderflower shrub:
Closer look at the elderflower:
Leaves are like this:
Not to be confused with cow parsley that also comes out about the same time, perhaps a little earlier. It typically grows on the kerbside, next to roads and has individual stems from the ground. More on how to identify elderflower here.
Excuse the misty picture, must have been a damp day!
Closer look, as you can see they are similar…
…but cow parsley is not a shrub and the leaves look like this:
How to make Elderflower Cordial
Ok, so once you have the correct flower you will need to collect 50 flower heads. Note: pick flowers higher than your thighs, higher than the tallest dog 😉
The others will be rain washed and clean.
Ingredients for Elderflower Cordial:
50 Elderflower Heads
4 Large lemons
4 litres water
100g citric acid – you can get this from good chemists or online.
Gently wash the elderflower heads
Peel the lemons finely
…and squeeze the lemons
Then add the sugar
and the citric acid.
Keep heating gently until all the sugar is dissolved – there’s no need to bring it to the boil.
Let it cool and when barely warm add the elderflower heads.
Cover with either cling film or a clean tea towel. It does tend to smell a bit like cat pee but fear not!
Let it stand in a cool place for 5 days.
Scoop into a jug
Strain through a cloth
Pour into bottle
It’ll look a bit like..
About this much cordial to water
Stir, add ice and lemon – Enjoy!
This can be stored for a very long time. Remember to leave it in a cool place and take care when opening a bottle, a little hiss is ok, but a build up of gas can cause some bottles to explode; although this has never happened to me, I just wouldn’t want it to happen to anyone.
It is also possible to freeze the cordial, in which case leave an air gap at the top of the bottle so to accommodate the expansion of the liquid as it freezes, it will be good for a warm day early next spring.
NB We can take no responsibility for any recipes, any that either go wrong, have exploding bottles or if you end up with cow parsley cordial or similar!
If it works well however, we’re happy to take all the praise! 😉
Any tips, questions or thoughts please spill below.