Gloriously floral Elderflower cordial, this has been my little project for the week thus far, aside from cleaning windows and number of other spring inspired jobs. Yay for spring! It doesn’t actually take all week, or that long at all for that matter, to make. It is more the procrastination, checking ingredients and working out the best plan of attack that takes all the time. Anyway it is made and has been sampled in a number of ways already….. and I am happy!
The trick with making elderflower cordial is that they flower for only a short time and you need perfect blooms, just opened to make the best cordial. You also need to pick them on a warm sunny day after the dew, if any, has dried. Why? I don’t know….. thats just what I have been told. 🙂 Just kidding, why? Well, just opened blooms obviously, because you don’t want dead flower tasting cordial and on a warm dry day because the warmth of the sun brings out the best in these lacey flowers and makes them as fragrant and aromatic as possible.
So you have picked your flowers, now check them over for any bugs and put them all into a big glass jar. I used 25 flower heads for my cordial but you can use anywhere between 20-40 for this size recipe. Add the zest of 3 lemons and then pour over 1.5ltrs of boiling water. Now cover lightly and let it sit over night to steep, like a really strong tea. And if you missed any bugs they will float to the top and you can fish them out, which is totally what I did because I couldn’t be bothered checking the flowers over to begin with. 🙂 (SShhhh, don’t tell)
Into a big pot put 1kg of raw sugar, 150ml of lemon juice and strain in all the liquid from the jar of flowers. Put it on a gentle heat and stirring to dissolve the sugar, bring just to the boil..
Now… I had some citric acid to add which you would add at this stage, however I totally forgot. It still tastes great and most recipes say that the citric acid is optional anyway. I wanted to add it though, because it really rounds out the flavour of you cordial, and adds a good little sour dimension without any add/extra flavour. So for example you could just add a bit more lemon juice to balance out the flavour, but the lemon would end up over-powering the elderflower. This is why the tasteless sour of the citric acid is a great addition. Not to worry, I will just make another batch and use it then.
So, the sugar is dissolved and the cordial is just at boiling point, now pour into warm sterilized bottles and put their tops on to seal straight away. Let cool and store in a cool dark place just as you would home preserves.
Now what do we do with this delicious floral syrup? Well here are the two things I have tried so far, apart from just adding it to some iced water for a sweet cold drink. I have heaps more ideas running through my head for it but first up:
Pour it over some peeled sliced citrus fruits, a combination of whatever you can lay your hands on. I used tangeloes and lemons, sweet and sour, AMAZING!!!!! Top with some mint leaves and a spoon of natural greek yoghurt. This is a great little after dinner palate cleanser, it is sweet, sour, fresh and satisfying.
Second and my main inspiration for making the cordial in the first place, a tastebud tingling elderflower, vodka and lime cocktail!
Shake together with some ice and a handful of mint leaves, 60ml fresh lime or lemon juice, 60ml vodka ( I am going to try vanilla vodka when I get some, because I think it would be scrummy) and 30ml of elderflower cordial. Pour into a glass and sip slowly on a hot lazy summer afternoon 🙂
Well, I would say that is some good enough reasons to go harvest some elderflowers. They grow like weeds around Marlborough, so no excuses for me.