Thursday, 31 May 2018

Homemade elderflower cordial


My latest pastime is to go into the garden every morning to appreciate my new vegetable patch, and enjoy all the plants and flowers that the season is bringing.

One of the drinks I enjoy most over Spring and Summer is elderflower pressé. I was blessed to buy a place where an elderflower tree came as part of the package.
Last weekend lots of flower-heads came through. Excited as a child, I picked some of them to make my first batch of elderflower cordial of the year. It’s easy and satisfying. I adopted and adapted a recipe from River Cottage which I’ve been using for many years now.

Elderflower and elderberry are the two gifts the trees in my garden give me every year. Hopefully, I will be sharing the elderberry recipe later on in the season.

In the meantime, if you can manage to pick some elderflowers, do make yourself a lovely cordial. Besides being tasty, it has lots of beneficial properties.

    
Elderflower tree.
Elderflowers.
Add some lemon zest...
...and boiling water. Let infuse overnight.
My homemade elderflower cordial.

Homemade elderflower cordial (recipe adapted from River Cottage’s)
Makes about 1.5 litre

This cordial is very versatile. You can use it as a refreshing cold drink with still or sparkling water; poured into a champagne or prosecco glass; as ice-lollies or jelly (see here); for using in icing for cakes or cupcakes; added to fruit salad; or however else it takes your fancy.

I use a lot less sugar then it is normally asked for in recipes. So, below I give you the option.

Ingredients

About 20-25 elderflower heads
Finely grated zest of 3 unwaxed lemons, plus their juice
600g- 1kg sugar


Method

 
Check the elderflower heads carefully and remove any insects. Place the flowers in a large bowl together with the lemon zest.


Bring 1.5 litres of water to the boil and pour over the elderflowers and lemon zest. Cover and leave to infuse overnight.


The next day, strain the liquid through a sterilized bag or piece of muslin, and pour into a saucepan. Add the sugar and the lemon juice.


Heat it gently to dissolve the sugar, then bring to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes.


Use a funnel to pour the hot syrup into sterilised bottles. Seal the bottles with swing-top lids, sterilised screw-tops or corks.


A healthy note: Elderflower (Sambucus) has been used in traditional medicine, in many different cultures, for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Rich in bioflavonoids.
Studies have shown that elderflower can be used for the treatment of colds &flu. It is a great diaphoretic (makes you sweat).
Elderflower has also been shown to soothe irritated sinus and mucus membranes, alleviating the symptoms of sinusitis and bronchitis. It is used in treatment for people with diabetes as it reduces blood sugar levels. For those suffering with constipation, elderflower can help relieve the symptoms due to its diuretic and laxative properties.

Till next week!
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