This week, I have learnt something new! Making elderflower cordial. I have always loved it but I had never been fortunate enough to live in a place surrounded by elderflowers. Plus, having time to experiment has also been a good thing!
I started researching the recipe and came across many which called for citric acid. Eventually, I made mine without it. The citric acid, in this case, works as a preservative and as a flavour enhancer; if you have enough space in the fridge or a cool place to store it there is no need for the citric acid. But if you choose to add it make sure it is the food-grade one and not for household cleaning!
This recipe makes about 3 litres. My version is reduced sugar and I have used more lemons to make up for the acidity the citric acid would provide.
The elderflower should be fully bloomed and at it`s best. Pick them preferably on a dry day around midday for a deeper aroma.
To make the cordial
20 elderflower heads
2 kilograms of granulated sugar
1500 ml of water
Place the sugar and the water in a large pan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolved. Then bring to the boil.
Fill a large bowl with fresh tap water and dip each elderflower head gently in the water. As you take the flower heads from the water, place them on a clean, dry cloth to dry out.
With a peeler, remove the zest of the lemons and then slice the fruit.
When the sugar syrup comes to the boil, remove from the heat, add the elderflowers, lemon zest and slices. Give it a good stir and cover the pan. Leave to infuse for about 24 hours.
Using a fine sieve, carefully drain the cordial. Then strain again using a muslin cloth over the sieve. This will ensure that the cordial is totally free of impurities. Store the cordial in clean bottles and well sealed. The cordial is ready to use!
For a very refreshing elderflower spritzer
50ml elderflower cordial diluted in 500ml water
1/2 bottle of white wine
fresh lemon slices
handful of cucumber shavings
Put all the ingredients in a large jug and stir. Serve immediately.