Wild Food Special Recipe Pt 1: Elderflower Cordial


Want to be able to claim that you ‘forage’, but don’t know where to start? Elderflower cordial is wild food foraging made easy. Pour your friends a prosecco and homemade elderflower cordial aperitivo on a warm summer’s evening, and they will be well impressed. Simply go out and pick 45 heads of elderflower, buy a few lemons and a bag of sugar, and in a day or two you will have a few litres of gorgeous cordial that beats any of the shop-bought stuff. Now is the time my friends, pick them while you can.

Makes 2-3 litres

  • 45 heads of elderflower (don’t pick them too old - if they have turned a brownish creamy colour and the flowers are falling off then the flavour won’t be as good. You want them white and fresh. Just use some scissors to cut off the head from the stalk, and make sure you strip away any leaves.
  • 4 lemons
  • 1 kg sugar
  • 2 litres of boiling water

1 After you’ve gone through the elderflower heads and shaken off any insects or dirt, put them in a large deep pan, with 2 sliced up lemons. Pour over the boiling water and push down the lemons and elderflower a little so the water is just covering. Cover and leave for 24 hours.

2 Strain the liquid through a tea towel and into another pan, and add the sugar, plus the juice of the remaining 2 lemons. (Best to strain the lemon juice through the tea towel too to keep the liquid clear). Warm the mixture on the hob, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. It will do this once it’s warm - you don’t have to boil it.

3 Sterilise some glass bottles or jars. Best way to do this is to pour some boiling water into them (make sure the glass is thick and that they aren’t cold before you do this, otherwise the glass will crack. To be safe you can let the water cool a little below boiling before you do this.) Then shake the hot water around inside with the lids on, before pouring it all out. Let them dry in an oven for a few minutes at around 100C. Be careful not to let them crack.

4 Pour in the liquid and Bob’s your uncle!