Throughout May and into early June, you'll be able to find elderflower growing in parks, woods and alongside pavements all over the UK. These tiny white flowers grow in sprays on small trees and can be picked to make elderflower cordial. Head out to pick your own elderflower, then make your own elderflower cordial with this super straightforward recipe. Store it for up to six weeks to spruce up plain water or to use in cocktails, desserts and cakes.
Try this easy recipe to make elderflower cordial at home:
1. Pick about 20 heads of elderflower, trim the stalks and wash well to get rid of any bugs.
2. Now make a syrup. Gently heat 1.5 litres of water and 2.5kg white sugar in a large pan until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Bring to the boil and remove from the heat.
3. Zest 2 lemons and slice into rounds, then add to the syrup along with the elderflowers. If you have citric acid (you can buy it online or at chemist's), add a heaped tablespoon – this will help to preserve it for longer but it's not essential. Stir well.
4. Cover the pan and set aside to infuse for 24 hours.
5. Line a colander with a piece of muslin or a tea towel and pour in the infused syrup. Discard the elderflower and lemon rounds.
6. Funnel the strained cordial into sterilised bottles, then store it in the fridge. Alternatively, freeze the cordial in ice cube trays for a delicious addition to water or gin and tonic.
Try your elderflower cordial in one of these summery elderflower desserts:
This springtime bake has a zesty and light sponge, topped with a lemony elderflower syrup and filled with lemon curd and elderflower buttercream – top with edible fresh flowers for an extra something special.
This early summer pairing of tart gooseberries and sweet, floral elderflower is as British as it gets – a refreshing, creamy dessert to enjoy while the sun shines.
These elderflower jellies are not too sweet and so refreshing – Amelia Freer shares a vegan and non-vegan recipe if you don't want to use gelatin. Serve your jellies with fresh seasonal berries (strawberries are bang in season right now) and fresh mint. Delicious!