I have always been a fan of floral flavours, and elderflower is no exception. I have bought a couple of different brands of the pre made cordial, but had never had the opportunity to make it myself. Every Summer I would see those lucky enough to have access to elderflowers make batches of cordial, even use it to infuse alcohol. I even found somewhere online that sold small elderflower plants, though that idea was quickly vetoed due to the vigorous nature of the elderflower plant, and our genuine lack of space for new plants in the garden.
This Summer however, I finally had access to some fresh elderflower - via the edible flower online store Petite Ingredient. About ten days ago, I received an email from them saying elderflowers were not only in season, but on sale too. At $9.95 a punnet, they were still pricey considering I would definitely need more than one punnet. I decided to just do it and buy some regardless. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to actually get my hands on some fresh elderflowers and I was curious to see how the whole ordering fresh flowers online worked in practice.
About a week later the elderflowers arrived. I had been eagerly awaiting their arrival and it was recommended that they go straight in the fridge once delivered. I had even briefed my Dad that they may be coming on a day I was at work, and said if they did to please put the whole thing in the fridge. Funnily enough they didn’t arrive that day, however an order from The Essential Ingredient did, so that ended up in the fridge instead! A few days later another order from The Royal Nut Company arrived (yes I have been shopping online a fair bit lately!), and yes that ended up in the fridge too. I think any delivery that looks like it is food related may end up in the fridge if I’m not home from now on!!
When my Petite Ingredient order did arrive I set about making my first batch of elderflower cordial, which included lemon zest and an infusion time of about 36 hours. If you go with this method (see below recipe one), and live in humid conditions, definitely allow the elderflowers to infuse in the fridge. This method gave a super lemony fragrance and flavour, however I was looking for a more pure elderflower taste.
The second batch (see below recipe two) only called for elderflowers and water to to be infused overnight. Again I did this in the fridge. You can see the difference in colour both recipes produced and I have to say the second batch was my favourite. I have used this recipe to create another elderflower drink in the next blog post.
I have included both recipes here, however I would recommend the second one. Both produce between 600-700ml of cordial which can be stored in a sterilised glass jar in the fridge for about a month.
Recipe One: Elderflower & Lemon Cordial
peeled zest of 2 lemons + 125ml lemon juice (approx. 3-4 lemons)
100g elderflower heads
500ml boiling water
325g caster sugar
In a large bowl place the elderflowers and lemon zest and cover with the water. Ensure the elderflowers are submerged in the water. Allow to cool at room temperature. Once cooled, cover and place in the fridge (or other cool spot) for at least 36 hours.
Once infused strain the mixture into a medium saucepan, pressing out as much of the liquid from the flowers as possible. The elderflowers and lemon zest can now be thrown out.
Add the sugar and lemon juice to the liquid and heat on high heat for about 3 or 4 minutes, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Once the liquid begins to simmer, remove from the heat and allow to cool before transferring to a sterilised bottle. Will keep in the fridge for about a month.
Recipe Two: Elderflower Cordial
70g elderflower heads
75g caster sugar
Pick off all the elderflowers from their stems and add to a medium sized bowl. Pour over the water, cover and place in the fridge to infuse overnight.
The next day, remove from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature for a couple of hours.
Strain the liquid into a medium saucepan, pressing out as much of the liquid from the flowers as possible. The flowers can now be thrown out. Add the sugar to the liquid and allow to gently simmer on medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat and cook for a further 10 minutes, until the colour of the cordial has turned golden and it has thickened a little.
Allow to cool, then transfer to a sterilised bottle, or use to make this Elderflower, Strawberry & Rose Cordial. Will keep in the fridge for about a month.
References: ‘The Modern Cook’s Year’ by Anna Jones (4th Estate, 2017), p.221; ‘Local is Lovely’ by Sophie Hansen (Hachette Australia, 2014), p.71.