Walking home from the shipyard I have been watching the progress of the elderflower or sambucca trees and finally started to pick the flowers to make my cordial for the summer. I have a recipe that my mum gave me which she has used for years, as we grew up on the cordial.  I have followed the recipe, doubled it and then trebled it as I seem to get carried away with picking the flowers and end up with a large bag full of elderflower heads. 

Elderflowers and lemons May 2011

Being that we are in apartments at the moment with the boat still in the shed being re sprayed again I have ended up using a crate as my bucket to steep the elderflowers and lemons in a sugar syrup. The aroma is sweetening the apartment that we are living in !  It makes for a pleasant smell as we arrive home late in the evenings before I prepare dinner for the crew. 

One of the crew tried last years cordial and was pleasantly surprised after his first sip, not realising that the cordial was going to be so fragrant and sweet. He is Australian so what more can I say, beer is his preferred beverage, but he did note that my comment earlier on the elderflower cordial,  that it would go well with a shot of vodka, slice of lemon with soda water and ice. I can imagine that will become a favoured drink this summer onboard. Meanwhile the new elderflowers are going to be steeped for 48 hrs at least here in the apartment

Elderflower Cordial

20 heads of elderflowers, only no leaves   

Elderflower cordial in the making 2011

1.8kg of sugar, preferably caster sugar

1.2 litre of water

2 lemons, zest pared and then the lemons sliced

75g citric acid

Having picked the elderflowers, make sure you shake off all the bugs or old flowers. I also rinse them if they are picked from the road sides.

Place the flowers in a large container, whilst you gently dissolve the sugar in warm water. Allow the water to cool.

Par the zest of the lemons and place with the elderflowers, and then slice the lemons and again place them into the elderflowers before the cooled sugar syrup is poured over the flowers and lemons, stirring the mixture well. Cover with a cloth and stir when passing.

I add the citric acid towards the end of the period that the elderflowers are left in the sugar syrup which can be anything from 24 – 48 hrs. The longer the better in my view to get as much of the delicious aroma of the elderflowers to infuse into the syrup.

Strain well, removing all the flowers and bottle. You must store in the fridge, so I use 500ml water bottles to store my elderflower cordial which I then freeze and use when I am running low on the batch always kept in the fridge. 

My supply tends to go quickly so I do now make a lot and have the bottles hidden in the freezers as I also use it for ice creams or cakes, biscuits or icing adding an unusual but fragrant flavour.

Dilute with cool sparkling water and enjoy !