Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Elderflower cordial

All last summer I was eyeing off our neighbours elderflower bush trying to work up enough gumption to go and ask them if I could pick the elderflower heads. Last year however, my shyness got the better of me and before I knew it the flowers had turned into berries and the berries fell to the ground.

This year was going to be different and a couple of weeks ago I found myself eyeing off our new neighbour's elderflower tree. Thankfully though I didn't have to overcome my shyness. On Sunday, after weeding the carrots, chard and radishes I sneaked over to the allotment opposite ours and into the elderflower bush (protected by a whole lot of stinging nettles). There were so many I figured that they wouldn't miss a few. I gathered at least 30 elderflower heads and I brought them home dreaming of elderflower cordial and all the things I can do with it. I'm thinking elderflower cupcakes, elderflower charlottes, elderflower granita... the elderflower possibilities are endless. I might have to go and pick some more.

Elderflower Cordial

30 heads of elderflowers
2 litres of water
1 kilogram of sugar (I used half golden granulated and half demerara)
2 limes, peeled and sliced
1 orange, peeled and sliced
4 tablespoons cream of tartar

Into a large saucepan (I talking big), place the flowers, sugar and citrus fruits. Stir together and leave to sit for 2 hours. Add the cream of tartar (which prevents crystallisation). Boil the water and pour over the flowers. Cover and leave to sit for at least 24 hours (although I let ours sit for 48).

Filter through a J cloth into sterilised glass bottles or plastic bottles. If freezing in the plastic bottles leave some space for expansion.

As a flavouring for various dishes I'm going to reduce the cordial down for a more intense hit.

9 comments:

Margaret said...

I'm jealous of your cordial making skills. The bottles look very professional, by the way.

Culinarily Curious said...

We've been talking about making cordials and liquors for quite some time, and elderflower is a favorite around here. You may have provided just the impetus we needed to give it a try!

Pille said...

I love elderflower cordial!! However, as it's not a drink available here, then I'm determined to plant an elderflower tree in our garden (still in process), so I could make my own cordial in the future:)

Freya and Paul said...

I'd love to give this a try and this is just the season!

Bonnie said...

Margaret - It was so easy, an absolute breeze - I'm sure you could do it with your eyes closed! Bottles can be found at Elizabeth David (but not at Sloe Gin making time ;)

CC, Freya and Paul - Definitely give it a go! But will have to be this weekend - I've noticed the flowers are starting to fall...

Pille - Can you get the elder trees in Estonia? Next time you're in the UK you'll have to pick one up!

Mrs Frog said...

Hi...elderflower cupcake recipe coming up!...

http://frogeatstown.blogspot.com/2007/05/elderflower-cupcakes.html

Great Big Veg Challenge said...

Bonnie - this is a beautiful looking recipe. My neighbour in Central London has a huge elderflower bush so I am going to buck up the courage to ask if I can try it out..
Do they have an optimum picking time - is there something I should look for?

Jeanne said...

Oh I do love elderflower cordial! We used to have a large elderflower bush just outside our garden - until the council inexplicably cut it down :-( Having tasted your elderflower cupcakes, I can vouch for your skills at distilling the flowery essence from these wonderful blossoms!

And in response to Great Big Veg Challenge, you need to try and find flowerheads that are fresh and creamy preferably with no flowers that have started to turn brown. You also need to avoid bushes growing by roads as the flowers probably have all sorts of chemical nasties on them, and although you should check the blossoms for insects, don't wash them as you need the pollen for its flavour.

Niamheen said...

Nice recipe! I haven't made anything with elderflowers in years! They used to grow all around my house growing up but they're not so easy to find in London...

Search Daydream delicious...