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Homemade Elderflower Cordial - The Smell of Summer

by Feli Chic'Cuisine

 The lovely fragrance of this refreshing drink captures the essence of summer. All it takes is infusing fully ripe flower heads into a simple syrup, delicately scented with lemon.
Photo @Feli Chic'Cuisine

Making elderflower cordial at home is a delightful and simple process. By soaking fragrant elderflower heads in a sweet lemon syrup, you can create a refreshing drink that perfectly captures the essence of summer. With just a few ingredients and easy steps, you can enjoy this delicious homemade beverage that brings the taste of sunny days into your glass.


Homemade elderflower cordial is something special, especially when made during the magical elderflower season. The lovely fragrance of this refreshing drink captures the essence of summer and brings back cherished childhood memories.


Whether enjoyed on its own, mixed with sparkling water, or added to creative cocktails, homemade elderflower cordial is sure to become a summer favorite. Get ready to savor its vibrant flavors, delicate aroma, and nostalgic charm.
The lovely fragrance of this refreshing drink captures the essence of summer. All it takes is infusing fully ripe flower heads into a simple syrup, delicately scented with lemon.
Photo@ Feli Chic'Cuisine
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, depending on your location.


To find elderflowers for making cordial syrup, you have a few options:


Foraging: Elderflowers often grow wild in various regions, especially in temperate climates. Look for them in hedgerows, along the edges of forests, or near streams. Make sure you're confident in your identification skills, as you want to be certain you're picking elderflowers and not a similar-looking, but potentially toxic, plant.


Farmers' Markets: Local farmers' markets often have vendors selling fresh produce, including elderflowers when they're in season. This can be a convenient option if you don't have time to forage or if elderflowers aren't readily available in your area.


Specialty Grocery Stores: Some specialty grocery stores, particularly those focused on organic or locally sourced products, may carry elderflowers during the peak season.


Online Retailers: If you can't find elderflowers locally, you can often purchase them from online retailers that specialize in herbs, spices, and botanicals. Make sure to order from a reputable source to ensure the quality and freshness of the flowers.


Feli Chic'Cuisine | The lovely fragrance of this refreshing drink captures the essence of summer. All it takes is infusing fully ripe flower heads into a simple syrup, delicately scented with lemon.
Image credit: Tobi Schumacher
Spotting Elderflowers: Tips for Accurate Identification

Appearance: Elderflowers have a unique appearance that sets them apart. They are small, creamy-white flowers arranged in flat-topped clusters known as "umbels." Each flower has five petals and a sweet, floral scent. The leaves are opposite each other along the stem and are compound with 5-7 leaflets.


Distinctive Scent: One of the easiest ways to identify elderflowers is by their fragrance. They have a sweet, slightly musky aroma that is unmistakable once you've encountered it. Take a moment to sniff the flowers as you approach them.


Tips for Picking Your Own Elderflowers
Feli Chic'Cuisine | The lovely fragrance of this refreshing drink captures the essence of summer. All it takes is infusing fully ripe flower heads into a simple syrup, delicately scented with lemon.

Piking time: 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.


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.


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 cordial 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.


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.

Feli Chic'Cuisine | The lovely fragrance of this refreshing drink captures the essence of summer. All it takes is infusing fully ripe flower heads into a simple syrup, delicately scented with lemon.
Photo: Pinterest
Tips Preparing the Cordial Elderflower

Harvest Fresh Flowers: Choose elderflowers that are freshly bloomed and free from blemishes or signs of wilting. Harvest them on a dry day when the flowers are fully open and fragrant.


Inspect for Insects: Before using the elderflowers, gently shake them or inspect them for any insects that might be hiding among the blossoms. You can also rinse them briefly with cold water to remove any debris. By shaking or lightly washing the elderflowers, you can ensure their cleanliness while preserving their natural pollen and flavor.


Remove Stems and Green Parts: Trim the elderflower clusters to remove most of the stem, as well as any green parts, as these can contribute bitterness to the cordial. Use only the fragrant flower heads in your recipe.


Add Citrus: For an extra burst of flavor, try incorporating citrus juice or zest into your elderflower cordial. Lemons, limes, or oranges can beautifully enhance the floral aroma of the elderflowers and add a zesty freshness to your cordial.


Store Properly: Transfer the strained elderflower cordial to clean, sterilized bottles or jars. Store it in the refrigerator for up to several weeks.


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
The lovely fragrance of this refreshing drink captures the essence of summer. All it takes is infusing fully ripe flower heads into a simple syrup, delicately scented with lemon.
@Feli Chic'Cuisine
Simply and Easy Natural fermentation Recipe

I prepared this elderflower cordial using an ancient recipe from my grandmother, letting nature work its magic with natural fermentation and sunlight.


First, I gathered fresh elderflowers and carefully removed the stems, keeping only the fragrant flower heads. I gently shook and removed any insects from the elderflower blossoms, being careful not to wash them to preserve their flavor.


In a large container, I mixed the elderflowers with sugar - or honey if preferred - and added sliced lemons.


To infuse the flavors, I prepared a simple syrup by dissolving sugar or honey in water over low heat. Once cooled slightly, I poured the syrup over the elderflowers and lemons, stirring well to combine.


Instead of using yeast or citric acid, I covered the container and placed it in a sunny spot. Over several days, I stirred occasionally as the sun worked its magic, infusing the mixture with delightful flavor.


After about a week of soaking up the sun, I strained out the flowers and lemon slices, then bottled the cordial. With each sip, I tasted the tradition and simplicity of natural processes, honoring the wisdom of the past.


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.

 
The lovely fragrance of this refreshing drink captures the essence of summer. All it takes is infusing fully ripe flower heads into a simple syrup, delicately scented with lemon.

Homemade Elderflower

Cordial Recipe


Homemade elderflower cordial is something special, especially when made during the magical elderflower season. The lovely fragrance of this refreshing drink captures the essence of summer


PREP. TIME: 15 min. STEEPING TIME: 3-4 days

 

Ingredients

  • 14-16 large elderflower heads

  • 500g light brown sugar or honey

  • 3 unwaxed, organic lemons: slices, zest and juice

  • 4 l water


 

Method

STEP 1


In a large pan, over low heat, combine the sugar or 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.


STEP 2


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.


STEP 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 in a warm-suny place, stirring occasionally.


STEP 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.


To Serve


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.


Enjoy!

The lovely fragrance of this refreshing drink captures the essence of summer. All it takes is infusing fully ripe flower heads into a simple syrup, delicately scented with lemon.
@Feli Chic'Cuisine

Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair. ​― Susan Polis Schutz

 

*All Photographs on Feli Chic'Cuisine, signed Feli Chic'Cuisine are copyrighted.

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