Elderflower Cordial

Mary Tweed
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Last week, as I was teaching a Nordic Walking class in Cambridge’s Milton Park, we rounded a corner and the delicious scent of freshly blossoming elderflowers engulfed us all. It is such a olfactory reminder that Spring has ended and Summer is well and truly on its way. Nothing tastes of warm summers’ days quite as much as the flavour of elderflower cordial and so, with that in mind, I thought I would post a recipe for the cordial, whilst the flowers are in full bloom and ready for the foraging.

Most of the ingredients are easy to get hold of. Picking the elderflowers themselves is a good excuse for a lovely walk. Ensure you give them a good shake when you harvest them so that the bugs fall off. The hardest item to obtain is citric acid, which can be bought from any pharmacy. The first time I tried to buy some from my local chemist, I was rather surprised at being interrogated about the purpose of my purchase. Apparently this is quite normal, as it can be used to manufacture certain drugs. I ended up giving the chemist serving me a copy of this recipe, in order to prove that I was quite innocent rather than a hardened addict.

The link between elderflower cordial and Nordic Walking is rather tenuous, but after Nordic Walking on a hot day June, a cool glass of elderflower cordial is the perfect thirst quencher. Enjoy!


  • 4lb Granulated sugar
  • 3oz Citric or tartaric acid
  • 2 Lemons
  • 20-30 Elderflower heads
  • 3 pints Boiled water

Method - Slice the lemons thinly - Put the sugar in a large pan. Add the water and dissolve the sugar slowly. - Once dissolved, bring the solution to the boil. - Add the lemons, acid and elderflower heads, take off the heat, cover and leave for 24 hours to infuse. - Strain through a muslin cloth into warm sterilised bottles and seal.

It will keep in the fridge for a couple of months, or can be frozen indefinitely in tupperware boxes.

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