Everywhere I go at the moment, the elderflowers are just coming out, struggling against the torrential rain that we have had this week. Get close to them and the scent is overpowering. It takes me straight back to childhood. My mother always made her own elderflower cordial. As a child of wartime, she was very thrifty. She was a suburban child but had been evacuated to the countryside where she learnt a lot about plants. I love this recipe – it makes a refreshing summer drink. Although it does contain a lot of sugar, it doesn’t taste overpoweringly sweet. The citric acid can be bought at a pharmacy or homebrew shop as can the camden tablets. Pick the flowers on a dry day (if we get one!). You can sterilise the bucket and bottles with Milton or boiling water.
24 large elderflowers
800g granulated sugar
4 unwaxed lemons
50g citric acid
3 litres water
4 screw top wine bottles
Large sterilised bucket
Slice the lemons and place them in the bucket with the sugar and the elderflower heads. Bring the water to the boil and pour into the bucket. Stir well. Add the citric acid.
Allow to steep for 3 days, stirring twice a day.
Strain through muslin into a clean jug and pour into sterilised bottles. Add 1/2 a camden tablet (crushed) to each bottle to prevent fermentation.
This is ready to drink immediately (diluted with water), but will keep for up to a year.