Elder is now out in flower – Elderflower – which if left becomes Elderberry later in the year.  I love the scent and taste of Elderflower and with this hot weather I’ve made Elderflower Cordial.  It’s really easy and we have lovely flowers by the laundry room – I’m not sure I’d want to use flowers at the roadside.


Elderflower Cordial Recipe

This is so simple – better than shop bought and cheaper!

Boil a pint of water and add 2lbs sugar.  Stir and heat until dissolved, then place on one side to cool for 10 minutes

Take a dozen flower heads and roughly cut off the stalks.  This means you have more chance for immersing them. Thinly slice one lemon. Put in a large bowl and add the liquid, plus an ounce and a half of citric acid.

Leave in the fridge overnight, then strain through a sieve. Strain again through a fine sieve.  Bottle.

Drink diluted about 8 times with water, sparkling water or white wine.  Will keep for a while in bottles in a cool place, up to 12 months in a refrigerator.


Gooseberry and Elderflower Compote

I’ve called this compote as I made a couple of versions and it depends what you’d like to do with the result.  One lot (made as a small batch) came out as lovely green jam.  The next lot (doubled in size) seemed to set but was quite runny when cold.  Great for pudding or ice cream topping but unlikely to stay on toast!  Some I kept as was, and some I reboiled and made into jam – being cooked for longer made it a much more red colour.

The mixture of Elderflower and Gooseberry gives a resulting Muscat flavour.  I gave a friend some and he ended up enthralled with his chutney- he’d used it on roast beef sandwiches, with cheese and not as a jam.  Very versatile:-)

Be adventurous and make this when the elderflower is in bloom.  You’ll probably find the gooseberies are small and hard and tart – but trust me it does work.  Waiting for ripe gooseberries gives a much less defined flavour.


3lb Gooseberries

3lb Sugar

12 Elderflower heads tied in muslin

1 pint water

Put water and gooseberries into a large pan and bring to boil.  Stir occassionally and keep on a fairly low heat until the gooseberries are soft and liquid has reduced about one-third.  Warm the sugar in a low oven.  Wash and heat jars, cover lids with boiling water to steralise.

Add the sugar to the mixture and heat on high for about 10 minutes, until it forms a skin on the back of a spoon or on a saucer in the fridge.  If you get lots of foam add a knob of butter, or skim off – the result is a bit like a lemon curd consistency.

Pot and label – will keep at least 2 years.