Easy Elderflower Cordial
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Elderflower is an early summer treat in most parts of North America and Europe. Here in West Tenessee, they start blooming in early June most years. Our roadsides are absolutely covered in beautiful white blossoms. Later in the summer, these same bushes will produce beautiful elderberries that can be picked and turned into elderberry syrups, jams, tinctures, and wine.
Both elderflower and elderberry have excellent medicinal benefits. Elderberry is sold in most stores right alongside cold and flu medicine! It is known for its excellent immune-boosting properties. I personally swear by it, as a tablespoon of elderberry syrup in a cup of tea or adrenal cocktail when I'm feeling like I might get sick soon has ALWAYS kept me from getting sick!
While the benefits of elderflower are not as widely known as elderberry, there are many medicinal benefits! Elderflower is known to help colds, flu, sinuses, and constipation, among other benefits. However, most people (including me) harvest elderflowers for their incredible scent! Elderflower has a subtle and delicious floral smell that can be infused into food and drinks. Elderflower wine or champagne is one of the more popular things to make from elderflowers. However, I've found that wine-making is very difficult to get right. At the moment, I'm also pregnant, so I was looking for another way to enjoy elderflower.
I landed on Elderflower cordial! Elderflower cordial is very versatile and can be used in a variety of food and drink recipes! It's sold as a drink mixer in many stores but can be expensive, depending on the bottle. Homemade is the way to go!
A few tips for sourcing elderflowers:
1. When you find a clump of bushes, wait until early summer, when the blossoms have fully opened to delicate, sweet-smelling flowers before harvesting.
2. Avoid harvesting from very busy roadsides as they likely are polluted by the road. I tend to look for them on gravel backroads that see very few cars.
3. Try and harvest elderflowers in the mornings before insects have had a chance to harvest the pollen in the individual flowers, which gives the plants its amazing smell.
4. If the flowers do not have a sweet smell, look for another bunch. A lack of a sweet smell means they are past their prime and won't make for good cordial.
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of filtered water
1 cup of elderflower
1 1/2 tablespoons of citric acid (optional, see notes)
1. Add water, sugar, and citric acid to a pot and bring to a simmer to dissolve the sugar.
2. While the sugar water is coming to temperature, lightly shake elderflower blossoms to remove bugs or other debris. Do not wash, as this will remove the pollen.
3. Wash and slice the lemon.
4. Pack lemon and elderflower in a mason jar.
5. Once the sugar is fully dissolved, pour the mixture into the jar over the flowers and lemons.
6. Once cooled, place in the refrigerator overnight or for 24 hours.
7. Remove from the refrigerator and strain through a mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove flowers and lemons.
Elderflower cordial can last in the refrigerator for 3 months if citric acid was used. If citric acid was not used, it will last about 3 weeks in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen in a plastic container for up to 6 months.
Elderflower cordial is incredibly versatile, and can be used in a variety of food and drink recipes! It can be added to lemonade, teas, sparkling waters, or alcoholic drinks! It can also be used in baked goods, such as an elderflower lemon cake, marshmallows, or cookies! Once you have your cordial, have fun experimenting with recipes, and let me know in the comments how you used it, and what you liked!
See my post here for How to Make Elderberry Syrup AND How to Preserve it for Storage.
See my post here for Elderberry, Mixed Berry Jam Recipe [Water Bath Can]