Monday, June 30, 2014

Elderflower cordial - Flagrant and refreshing

Fragrant and refreshing, elderflower cordial is excellent for summer 

Fragrant and refreshing, elderflower cordial is excellent for summer. This juice is quick and simple to prepare and a great excuse for a long walk collecting flowers. In addition to the fresh flowers, you'll need a couple of other items to make the cordial like lemons, citric acid powered, water and sugar. It has a light floral touch and sweetness and an amazing homemade flavor.

Fragrant and refreshing, elderflower cordial is excellent for summer

The Elderflower season is short, late May to the latest, June with a bit of variation depending on climate. Always choose flowers that are in full bloom, that are creamy five-petalled and haven't started to go brown. 
Elderflower has been used medicinally for hundreds of years. It is rich in antioxidants and its healing properties have for centuries been used as a remedy for coughs, colds, hay fever and even rheumatism. 

Fragrant and refreshing, elderflower cordial is excellent for summer

This is the first recipe in a category that I will call "Family Recipes". Elderflower cordial has been in my family for a long time and I remember tasting this lovely scented juice in my childhood. Summer days in my childhood were filled with the scent of elder coming from the elder bushes along roads, paths, in the fields and gardens. We always used to have cool elderflower cordial on the counter to refresh the guests in the summer heat.

Yield: 1 1/2 liters

  • 25 heads (each made up of several clusters of flowers on one stem) of elderflower, stalks trimmed
  • 1 lemon
  • 1.2 kilograms (5 cups) white sugar
  • 1 liter (4 cups) water
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) citric acid
  1. In a big pan, combine the sugar and the water. Gently heat, without boiling, until the sugar has dissolved. Give it a stir every now and again.
  2. Take the pan off the heat and leave it to cool until it's lukewarm. 
  3. Give the flowers a gentle wash in cold water to loosen any dirt or bugs. Lift flowers out, gently shake and transfer to the syrup along with the lemons, zest and citric acid, then stir well. 
  4. Cover the pan and leave to infuse for 24 hours.
  5. The next day, line a colander or deep sieve with muslin and set it into a big bowl or pan. Pour the contents of the elderflower bowl into the muslin, taking care that it doesn't overflow.  
  6. Use a funnel and a ladle to fill sterilized bottles (place a couple of clean glass cordial bottles in an oven set to 210° F (100° C) until they've been heated through. Let the bottles cool for a bit - they can be warm, but not hot). The cordial is ready to drink straight away.
Tips and Tricks:
  • The elderflower cordial will keep in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks. You can also freeze it in plastic containers or ice cube trays and defrost as needed.
  • Other than for drinking, you can use elderflower cordial to drizzle over fruit salad, set into jellies and serve with berries or drizzle over lemon sorbet.

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