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The Elder (latin name Sambucus Nigra) will soon be coming into flower in the UK.
Elderflowers make a thirst quenching cordial with a distinctive flavour. Elderflower champagne and elderflower wine are also popular drinks.
There are many different recipes for elderflower cordial. The main ingredients are elderflower heads on a very short stalk, sugar and water. Lemon and citric acid can be added to help it keep longer. Mrs Beeton added butterscotch to increase the flavour. Proportions vary with taste, but here is a guide:
Elderflower cordial ingredients:
- 20 heads of elderflower
- 1.8kg granulated or caster sugar
- 1.2 litres water
- 2 unwaxed lemons
- 75g citric acid
Collect the flowers when they are fully out, on a dry, sunny day when the nectar is at its height.
Shake the flowers in a downward motion to get rid of the tiny black flies.
Place layers of flowers, and sugar in a large bowl or bucket.
Pour boiling water over the flowers, so that they are covered.
Leave for 24 hours
Strain and pour the liquid into plastic bottles.
Refridgerate or freeze
Use elderflower cordial as:
- a refreshing drink diluted with water, fizzy water, or iced water
- a syrup for fruit salad
- hayfever relief
Elderflower cordial makes a lovely summer drink.