Elderflower foraging and cordial

During our walk along the country lane near our house on Friday evening, I noted that there were elderflowers aplenty along the path. Not only did they look beautiful but they would make an extremely good cordial I thought. No traffic fumes on these. And elderflower cordial happens to be one of my favourites ๐Ÿ™‚


elderflowers aplenty

After making nettle cordial last month and seeing how easy it was, I found a recipe in my River Cottage recipe book. Then with me on foot and my daughter on scooter we set out to do some very local foraging.


finding a new play area

Into the bargain, we discovered a new play area on our very estate. My daughter insisted that the field behind the path was actually very close to where we live, so once we had enough elderflowers we went to investigate. And sure enough, on the other side of the fence there was indeed a little park. How great is that!

Anyway, I put the flowers in enough boiling water to cover them last night – along with 300 ml of lemon juice – and when we got back from an outing with our sewing bee today I finished off the mixture.

The recipe said to add 350g of sugar, 50 ml of lemon juice and a heaped teaspoon of tartaric acid for ever 500 ml of the strained mixture. Then bring the liquid to boil on a gentle heat.

After that it was just a case of bottling it…… With the result that we now have about two litres of elderflower cordial.

NB Since writing this post, I have learned that the above pictured flower is in fact cow parsley. Fortunately, it is edible and so I will still drink the cordial. However, it shows how you do need to know what you’re doing when you go foraging. Roll on the end of June when I do a foraging course at Skelton Grange Conservation Centre.


About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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15 Responses to Elderflower foraging and cordial

  1. i will have to have a go at making it lovely post need to find some had some in old garden and forgot to try and take a cutting

  2. streepie says:

    Guess what we did yesterday – going for a long walk and collecting elder flowers! We plan to collect a few more next weekend, and I just found on my way to work, that the elders are on flower on the university estate. Will use my lunch break for a foraging outing.

    I have to give your cordial recipe a try, as I usually make syrup from the flowers.

    • Helen says:

      What a coincidence! Yes, do give me your recipe?

    • Helen says:

      I mean, it would be interesting to make syrup as well.

      • streepie says:

        Here is my recipe:

        about 15 Elderflower umbels, well shaken out to remove any insects (and any other arthropods)
        1 Lemon, thinly sliced
        1 l water
        1 kg sugar
        10 g citric acid (or tartaric acid)

        Mix Water and sugar and bring to the boil. Dissolve citric acid in this mixture, and pour this over the elder flowers and lemon slices. Cover and leave to stand for three to five days.
        Drain through a cloth, bring to a rolling boil and bottle in sterilised bottles. Enjoy diluted with cold sparkling water.


        • Helen says:

          Thank you! This sounds like what I would call cordial but I will try it next time. I think it will be less lemony than the River Cottage one I used this time round.

  3. Lily Lau says:

    A new play area? That’s always so exciting! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Helen says:

      The play area could do with some seats or something but it’s a good space to run around in/play sport. (Especially when one’s mother has turned the back garden into a forest garden and vegetable patch!)

  4. Sounds delish! Something I have never made – might help if I grew them perhaps ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. soloenespana says:

    Mmmnn… One of the things I miss most from Denmark (I can buy it in IKEA – but it’s not the same as homemade).

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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