by Feli Chic'Cuisine
There's something truly special about homemade elderflower cordial, especially when it's crafted during the enchanting elderflower season. The captivating fragrance of this refreshing drink evokes the essence of summer, reminiscent of cherished memories from our childhood. With just a few simple ingredients, you can easily create your own batch of elderflower cordial that will be the perfect accompaniment to the sunny days of the hot season.
Creating elderflower cordial at home is a delightful and rewarding experience. All it takes is infusing fully ripe flower heads into a simple syrup, delicately scented with lemon. The combination of these elements results in a harmonious and refreshing soft drink that perfectly embodies the spirit of the summer season.
Whether you enjoy it on its own, mixed with sparkling water, or incorporated into creative cocktails, homemade elderflower cordial is sure to become a beloved staple during the summer months. Get ready to savor the vibrant flavors, delicate aroma, and nostalgic charm of this exquisite beverage.
Where Can You Find Elderflowers - Sambucus Nigra?
Elderflowers truly embody the scent of summer! These fragrant blooms typically grace us with their presence from late May to mid-June.
If you're wondering where to find elderflowers, look no further than the beautiful elder bushes, scientifically known as Sambucus nigra. While you can purchase them at local markets, there's something magical about picking them directly from nature. These delightful shrubs can be found in a variety of locations, including forests, parks, residential areas, and even along roadsides.
They are easily recognisable by their large clusters of intensely fragrant flowers. When embarking on your elderflower-picking adventure, it's important to choose bushes that are in full bloom, displaying abundant and open crowns. These are indicators of vibrant, fresh flowers that will infuse your preparations with the most captivating aromas.
However, remember to gather only what you need, ensuring that you don't over-harvest and harm the surrounding wildlife habitat. Respecting and preserving the environment should always be a priority.
The process of picking and using elderflowers for the preparation of the cordial is not only a delightful tradition but also a way to appreciate and savor the natural wonders around us. The aromatic and fragrant qualities of elderflowers will lend their enchanting essence to your homemade beverage, creating a truly delightful and refreshing experience.
So, grab your basket and venture out to discover the beauty of elderflower harvesting. Enjoy the rewards of this age-old practice as you infuse your summer days with the essence of nature's bounty.
Tips for Picking Your Own Elderflowers
If you're planning to embark on an elderflower picking adventure, here are some useful tips to ensure you gather the best blooms:
1. Timing is key: Elderflowers are at their freshest and most fragrant in the first few weeks of June. This is the optimal time to harvest them when they are in full bloom and bursting with their intoxicating scent.
2. Choose the right location: Avoid picking elderflowers from roadsides or areas with high pollution levels. These flowers have a tendency to absorb fumes from passing vehicles, which can affect their quality. Instead, venture into more pristine environments such as forests, parks, or secluded areas where the air is cleaner.
3. Seek out aromatic crowns: Look for elderflower clusters with dense crowns. These are the ones that have fully opened and are known for their heady, sweet fragrance. The more aromatic the flowers, the more flavorful your culinary creations will be.
4. Select unblemished blossoms: When picking elderflowers, prioritize those that are large and free from any blemishes or discoloration. Wilted or browned flowers may have a bitter taste and could negatively impact the final outcome of your recipes. Opting for pristine blossoms ensures the best flavor and quality.
5. Handle with care: Treat the delicate elderflowers with gentleness during the harvesting process. Use scissors or your fingers to carefully snip the clusters, being mindful not to damage the blooms or the surrounding plant.
By following these tips, you'll be equipped to gather prime elderflowers for elderflower cordial, syrups, teas, or baked goods. Enjoy the satisfaction of incorporating these fragrant blossoms into your homemade creations, knowing that you've harvested them at their peak freshness and flavor.
To ensure the elderflower blossoms are free from insects, it is recommended to gently shake them. Avoid washing the flowers, as doing so can remove the pollen and diminish their flavor.
However, if you prefer to wash the elderflowers, you can follow these steps: Fill a bowl with cold water and gently swish the blossoms around.
By shaking or lightly washing the elderflowers, you can ensure their cleanliness while preserving their natural pollen and flavor. This way, you'll be able to fully enjoy the aromatic and delightful essence they bring to your elderflower cordial.
Take care to remove any green stems, keeping only the delicate flowers. It's important to note that the green stems can impart a bitter taste, and both the stems and leaves contain toxic components, so it's best to discard them.
In my quest for a truly natural and non-alcoholic beverage, I omitted yeast and citric acid from this recipe. The magic lies in the synergy between the tangy lemon, sugar or honey, and the natural sweetness of the elderflowers, all enhanced by the gentle warmth of the sun. By avoiding the addition of yeast, we can enjoy a non-alcoholic version of this delightful elderflower cordial.
For the best flavor and fragrance, it is advisable to prepare this elderflower cordial recipe within a few hours of picking the blossoms. This way, you can capture the essence of the freshly harvested flowers at their peak. Their delicate aroma and vibrant flavors will infuse the cordial, creating a truly remarkable beverage to be savored and enjoyed.
Embracing the art of natural fermentation allows us to experience the authentic essence of the elderflowers, celebrating their unique qualities without the presence of alcohol.
Home Made Elderflower Cordial
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 5 min
Steeping Time: 3-4 days
14-16 large elderflower heads
500g light brown sugar or honey
3 unwaxed, organic lemons: slices, zest and juice
4 l water
1. In a large pan, over low heat, combine the sugar (honey), water, juice and zest of 1 lemon, until the sugar or honey dissolves, stirring constantly. Don’t bring to a boil! It will kill the bacteria needed for fermentation. When the sugar has dissolved completely, remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
2. Meanwhile, gently shake and remove any insects from the elderflower blossoms. Do not wash them! Washing the elderflowers would remove the pollen and much of the flavor. Remove all the green stems, keeping just the little flowers (the stems and the leaves are toxic).
3. Cut the remaining lemon into slices. In a large glass jar, alternate a handful of flowers with a few slices of lemon, and top the last layer of flowers with lemons. Pour the syrup over the elderflowers and lemon. Stir well. Cover with a clean cloth and leave to macerate for 2-3 days; stirring occasionally.
4. Using a sieve or a colander lined with cheesecloth, strain the elderflower syrup. Pour the syrup into sterilized bottles. Store in the fridge up to 6 weeks. Or freeze it in plastic containers or ice cube trays and defrost as needed.
The best way to enjoy elderflower cordial is to mix it with tap water or sparkling water, and add lemon slices if you like. You can also add a few ice cubes and a leaf of mint. To flavour Prosecco or gin, just add a dash for a summer fizz.
Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair. ― Susan Polis Schutz