This week I noticed that the elderflower in my local park is in full bloom, so I packed my bag with some scissors and a tote bag today ready to make elderflower cordial!
The Elder is a hedgerow tree native to the UK, and there are many myths surrounding the plant. Guarded by the Elder Mother who lived in it’s trunk, who protected people and was host to fairies! It was also used as a medicinal plant, and nowadays, used for it’s tasty flowers and berries which are made non-toxic through cooking.
When foraging, you can clearly tell it’s an Elder tree by looking at it’s leaves and flower heads. The flower heads are white and bushy with many small white blossoms with yellow pollen, growing together in clumps. The leaves are feather shaped, and grow in groups of 5. If it meets both of these criteria, it’s elderflower!
It’s best to pick in the morning on a sunny day for full flavour, and you want the flowers to be out and not still closed. I picked around 15 heads, which left plenty of flowers left for the pollinators which love them so much!
I found this recipe here and I can’t wait to see how it turns out! I did initially spill the entire sugar syrup contents all over my hob and floor, so we’ll see what happens with my final results, oops.
Recipe for Elderflower Cordial
- Put the sugar in a bowl/container with the boiling water and stir to dissolve. Add the lemon juice and zest.
- Shake the elderflowers to remove any insects and add the flowers to the sugar syrup. Cover and leave to stand for 1-2 days, stirring morning and night.
- Strain the elderflower cordial through muslin and pour into sterilised bottles. It’s now ready to serve!