Elderflower cordial

Making the most of the sunshine...

We love to make our own elderflower cordial from the edlerflower heads that appear in the hedgerows at this time of year. The secret is to pick them only when the sun is shining, when their teeny tiny petals are all open and straining for the sun's rays, before any of the flowers have tinged brown. 

Take 2 and a half kilos of sugar and dissolve it into 1 and a half pints of water in a large sauce pan over a gentle heat. Bring to a boil and then take off the heat. Swoosh your elderflower heads in a bucket of cold water, shake off any bugs and dirt, then tranfer your shaken elderflower heads into the syrup along with some pared lemon zest and the rest of the lemon cut into rounds. Add 85g of citric acid (available at the chemist and helps to preserve the cordial) and stir well. Cover the pan and leave to sit and infuse for 24 hours.

Line a colander with a clean tea towel and sit it over a large bowl. Ladle in the syrup, letting it drip slowly through and leaving the flowers behind in the towel. You will be left with oddles of cordail in the bowl, which you can funnel into clean (sterilised in the dishwasher is best) glass bottles. Will keep up to 6 weeks, or you can freeze it in plastic bottles or ice cube trays for use later in the year.