20-30 freshly picked heads of elderflower
Zest of 2 lemons and 1 orange
Up to 1.5 kg of granulated sugar
Up to 200ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
Shake insects off flowers, but don't wash them - it ruins the flavour, then place them in a large bowl with the lemon and orange zest. Pour over just enough boiled water to cover them completely (approx 1.5 - 2 litres). Cover and leave for at least 4 hours, or overnight, until cold.
Strain the liquid through muslin or a jelly bag, gently squeezing to extract all the juice. Measure the amount of liquid and pour it into a saucepan. To every 500ml liquid add 350g sugar and 50ml lemon juice. Heat gently to dissolve all the sugar, stirring occassionally. Bring to a gentle simmer and skim off any scum. Let the cordial cool, then strain it again through muslin or a jelly bag.
Funnel the cordial into glass bottles and store in the fridge - will keep for 2-3 weeks.
This is the recipe as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall tells it. We made one bottle for the fridge and put the rest into ice cube trays/bags. According to the site I was perusing yesterday it'll keep for up to a year if frozen. We also found that this recipe made a cordial a bit too sweet to our taste, so it might be worth going a little gentle on that front and adding it to taste.
The elderflowers are out in force right now - and this stuff is really easy and completely yummy. Go on, you know you want to. :)
The flowers on the tree.
Close up of the flowers.
An elder tree as they look at this time of year.
And other things to help identify the elder can be found here.
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