Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Elderflower cordial

The elderflowers are almost over for the year but it's not too late to make last-minute elderflower cordial. Pouring syrup over the elderflowers preserves more of the delicate flavour and fragrance of the flowers than recipes which advocate steeping the flowers and then using the infusion to make the cordial. Many recipes for elderflower cordial list oranges amongst the ingredients but lemons and perhaps the occasional lime will give a cleaner taste.

Elderflower Cordial

1 carrier bag or small basket of elderflowers
2kg caster sugar
1.5 litres water
2 organic lemons
1 lime
75-100g citric acid

Place the elderflowers in a large bowl and leave uncovered to allow any stray insects to escape. Put the sugar and water into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved.
Pare the zest from the lemons and lime and add to the elderflowers. Slice the citrus fruits and add to the bowl.
Pour the hot syrup over the elderflowers and stir well. Add the citric acid and stir again.
Cover and leave to steep in a cool place overnight or for 24 hours.
Strain the cordial through a muslin-lined sieve or colander into a large pan and then pour into sterilised glass or well-washed plastic bottles. Using plastic bottles means the cordial can be kept in the freezer where it will semi-freeze, perfect for mixing with sparkling water for a cold drink without the need for ice.