Monday, 30 June 2014

Two Batches Of Elderflower Cordial

About two weeks ago I made my first ever batch of elderflower cordial. Once we tried it I set about making another batch a few days later - it tastes so good!
No Elder flowers on our plot this year so we had to go to a friends house and pinch some of theirs!
I picked a bag full of elderflower heads, grated three lemons and then left the whole lot to infuse over night by pouring 2 litres of boiling water over it.
The next day I added the juice of the lemons and added a table spoon of citric acid and a kilo of sugar, I then heated this up in the saucepan until it boiled before adding it to some Kilner bottles that had been sterilised (and warmed) in the oven.
I also made some ice lollies out of the mixture which should be nice and refreshing on a summers day.
 I've read that this will only keep a couple of months but I doubt there's much chance of it lasting that long. I'd like to try and pasteurise some cordials in the future so we could keep them a lot longer without freezing them and maybe reduce the number of the ones that we buy. I thought this might last longer than that due to the sugar content. If I see a Berco boiler at a car boot sale it might be worth me trying it, I think you need to heat it at 70 degrees for a few minutes to kill all the bugs. 
Blackcurrent cordial next I think! Anyone else been making cordials?


  1. Made 2 batches of elderflower cordial, the first one I added too much sugar, (was in jelly making mode I think), should have been 350g sugar to each 5ooml of strained liquid, so these would not freeze in the ice cubetrays and were a sod to get out, so made elderflower sorbet with the moshed up ice cubes.
    The second batch, got it right this time, using Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstalls' recipe without the Tartaric acid. According to HGW, if you use the Tartaric acid, it will last for up to a year in the bottles and up to six months in the fridge without. So, not having the dosh for good bottles (the bottles I do have smell of chilli sauce and can't get rid of the smell no how!), I froze the cordial in those ice cube bags that are supposed to be self sealing, hmph! Not all of them were, so tied the tops with plastic twist ties. The bags I used, you stretch length ways and up/down to loosen the ice cubes and then you can put them in a box in the freezer and take out what you need. 1 cube makes a slightly weaker tasting glass, 2cubes just right!
    The recipe was in the 'River Cottage year' and he also used the juice and zest of one orange too, which makes it a nice flavour.
    Now I've discovered a good foraging place for Elderflowers (and Elderberries later), blackberries, rowan berries, rosehips, sloes, crab apples and hazel nuts (I guess I'm not the only one who has found them!), I will have a plentiful supply of stuff for cordials,jams etc.

    1. This one is a little sweet for some tastes I'm sure. I used the recipe from a later river cottage book and it said citric acid so I'll have to look that one up as well and buy some tartaric.I like the idea of the ice cubes. Might have to do that with one of the bottles I've got.
      Good foraging places are always handy. We just got our hedges trimmer last year and it removed all the fruiting material. I think we're not going to bother in the fields this year so we get some black currants and elderberries.

  2. This gal is going to can some elderberry cordial following the Ball Canning book as a guide. She also has a fantastic blog on gardening 365 days a year! Very informative site. You would only need a hot water bath canner for canning this if its done like the other concentrates not a pressure canner :O)
    Any pot large enough to hold your jars and have 1" of water above them will work as a hot water bath canner. You do need a rack to put in the bottom, you never want to sit your jars directly on the bottom of the pan. A cake cooling rack will work for this if you have one that will fit :O).
    I think canning this cordial should work as people can lemonade concentrates of all types...Lemon/blackberry, Lemon strawberry etc.. then just add the concentrate to water and make a pitcher of lemonade anytime.
    I have four elderberry bushes to get planted that my friend gave me. I can wait till I have enough flowers to try this cordial.

    1. Thanks for the link. That site looks right up my street.
      I've got a large preserving plan (a wedding present) that I was thinking of using for the water bath method and I'm sure I can make a wire rack to fit the bottom. I need to be able to do it because when I've grown all my apple trees I'd like to be able to can enough apple juice to last us through the year.

  3. I enjoyed that and Tex's and Sandie's comments
    I may even give the whole process a go

    1. It tastes really nice and it's great to offer guests home-made cordial!

  4. Was going to make elderflower cordial this year, but didn't because of the pressure of other things, but will defo have a go next year. Have plenty of elder trees growing here, so shall be harvesting some elder berries later on. Nice link from Texan!


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