June 4, 2014
It wouldn’t be a truly British summer without the sight of hedgerows bursting with glorious bundles of elderflower, so delicate and pretty and don’t even get me started on that wonderful aroma… I am a total elderflower cordial addict, I would shamelessly drink it, and solely it for the rest of my life (at this point it is important to note that Elderflower G&T is also a real winner). On the estate where the horses live, all the trees, bushes and hedgerows seem to be brimming with elderflower, so over the weekend I decided to treat myself to my own homemade batch of elderflower cordial, with the assistance of my altogether more domesticated friend, Hattie. Arms overflowing with not shy of 60 elderflower heads, we eagerly started preparing ingredients… It all felt very famous five indeed. We decided to use a River Cottage recipe for elderflower cordial, you can always trust Hugh F-W for a cracking cordial.
You can find the recipe we used here – http://www.rivercottage.net/recipes/elderflower-cordial/ It is best to start the process in the evening as the heads will need to infuse over night. To sum up the elderflower cordial recipe as above, take 25 elderflower heads (though we used 50 which is why we got four large bottles), lemon and orange zest and pour the boiling water over the top. Cover up this concoction and leave over night to infuse. In the morning, squish the liquid through some muslin. Just to say, oh my goodness there is a lot of sugar in this stuff – 1kg per 25 heads to be precise, but if it results in an afternoon of delicious gluttony then I would say it’s well worth it. Add the excessive quantity of sugar at this point, along with the lemon juice and heat slowly to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar has completely disappeared, bring the liquid to boil for just a couple of minutes. The resulting fragrance of this process was delicious and we mused about when we were little and used to attempt to make potions and perfumes in the garden and how how nostalgic this made us feel. When the elderflower cordial is still hot, pour it directly into your bottles (preferably swing top lid bottles) If you pour the liquid in when it is still boiling, it will sterilise the bottles at the same time! Leave the bottles to cool completely, before putting them in the fridge to chill. In my opinion, elderflower cordial is best served chilled with ice and sparkling water, but each to their own. If for some inconceivable reason you have some left over by the end of this process, pop the bottles into the fridge and the cordial should keep for several weeks.
I love the idea of bottling up the cordial and giving them as little gifts (perfect to bring to a friends lunch, brunch and even for afternoon tea in the garden) Hand-writing labels and attaching them to the bottles is a sweet touch. If you try out this recipe, do send us your pictures, tweet us or tag us on Facebook or Instagram – Illumens Fragrance.
With love – Lily (Illumens Junior)