The Best Elderflower Cordial (I think)

Elderflowers are now lining my cycle path through Peckham to the library, so I thought I’d share my mum’s recipe for her elderflower cordial. I am determined to make it this year! According to mum (and seconded by others) is essential to pick the flowers when the sun is out to have their flavour at its peak, which is wonderfully mystical. As soon as the sun pops out again I’ll be rushing to bushes I’ve spotted with a binliner to harvest the perfumed white flowers.

This recipe is not too sweet, as many recipes are, not too sour, and tastes powerfully of elderflower.


At least 60 elderflower heads (picked in the sunshine!)

5oz (142 grams) citric acid (sold in chemists in 50g packets)

4 lemons, thinly sliced

5 pints (2.85 litres) boiled water

4lbs sugar (1.8kg)

A clean bucket with a lid.

How to make:

Put the elderflowers in the bucket with the sliced lemons.
Dissolve the sugar in the boiled water and mix in the citric acid.

When cool, pour into the bucket and stir and put on the lid.

Stir every day for 5-6 days and then strain through a tea towel and bottle or, better still, pour into jam jars and freeze. 


To use from frozen, scoop out a dessertspoonful into a tumbler and add fizzy water.

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