The sun is trying to shine and the elder is in bloom. It’s time to make elderflower cordial.  I was given a bag of flowers and a scribbled recipe from the school gardening club. I thought it might have been passed down from generation to generation, but then I found the original online. So here it is, summer in glass:


  • 2 1/2 kg granulated (or caster) sugar
  • 1 1/2 litres water
  • 2 unwaxed lemons – pare the zest then slice into rounds
  • 85g citric acid
  • 20 fresh elderflower heads, stalks trimmed

Put the sugar and water in a large pan. Heat gently, without boiling, until all the sugar has dissolved. Stir occasionally. Then, bring the syrup to the boil and then turn off the heat.

Rinse the elderflowers in cold water and shake off any excess.

Add the lemon zest, lemon slices, citric acid and elderflowers to the syrup. Cover and allow to steep for 24 hours.

Line a colander with a clean tea towel and sieve the ingredients through. Discard the bits left in the towel.

Decant the cordial into sterilized bottles.

The cordial is ready to drink straight away (try diluting with sparkling water) or will last for up to six weeks in the ‘fridge.

It can also be frozen in ice-cube trays so you can just use as required.