A Little Taste of Summer

I often resolve to do things and just don’t get around to them.  Printing out photographs and framing them, baking and icing a Christmas cake, sitting down and playing the piano for 10 minutes in a day.

However, making elderflower cordial – long on the list – can be proudly ticked off this June.  I might even make some more, because it was lovely and easy to do and is something we’ll actually use.  I can also now be that annoying friend / guest that brings their own homemade stuff instead of a proper, desirable gift to your house.  So don’t feel too bad if you banish it to the back of the cupboard – the pleasure has literally been all mine.

We have so much going on and growing up around us here in the Burren that it’s nice to make use of it.  The elderflowers were out earlier than usual this year, but they’re still flying high right now.  Our nearest tree is right beside Kiltacky graveyard which I think adds an edge to my brew.  (Just to be clear, however, I’m not aware of any link between people ending up in the graveyard and the ingestion of my elderflower cordial.  Yet.)  Yes, this cordial is full of sugar, but sugar ain’t the worst thing in all the world in small(ish) doses and at least you’ll know exactly what’s gone into your beverage.  You can add it to water, freeze it in ice-cubes to add to your favourite tipple or make it into ice-lollies or jellies.  Whatever you end up doing with it, it’s worth making as it’s truly a little taste of Summer.

What You Need:

  • 2.5kg Caster Sugar
  • 2 Unwaxed Lemons
  • 20 Fresh Elderflower Heads
  • 85g Citric Acid (you can get this from the chemist)

What You Do:

  1. Put the sugar and 1.5 litres of water into the largest saucepan you have. Gently heat, without boiling, until the sugar has dissolved. Give it a stir every now and again. Pare the zest from the lemons using a potato peeler, then slice the lemons into rounds.
  2. Once the sugar has dissolved, bring the pan of syrup to the boil, then turn off the heat. Fill a washing up bowl with cold water and give the flowers a gentle swish around to loosen any dirt or insects. Lift the flowers out, gently shake and transfer to the syrup along with the lemons, zest and citric acid, then stir well. Cover the pan and leave to infuse for 24 hrs.
  3. Line a colander with a clean tea towel or muslin cloth, then sit it over a large bowl or pan. Ladle in the syrup and let it drip slowly through. Discard the bits left in the towel. Use a funnel and a ladle to fill sterilised bottles (run glass bottles through the dishwasher, or wash well with soapy water. Rinse, then leave to dry in a low oven).



The cordial is ready to drink straight away and will keep in the fridge for up to 6 weeks.  You can also freeze it in plastic containers or ice cube trays and defrost as needed.

I got this particular recipe from the good old reliable http://www.bbcgoodfood.com and there are plenty of others available online.

Now get picking and enjoying 🙂


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