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Elderflower Cordial

A delicate and fragrant cordial, perfect with sparkling water or in a cocktail.
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elderflower cordial

Elderflower Cordial is a delightful addition to drinks and desserts, with a delicate and subtle fruity flavour.

It’s made from the Elderflower shrub, also known as the Elderberry, which grows to about three or four metres in height and produces tiny, tiny white flowers which hang together in sprays and develop into purple elderberries.

The flowers are pretty as in a posy, and both the flowers and berries have a wide array of culinary uses. Here, we’re using the flowers to in this Elderflower Cordial Recipe! 

elderflower cordial

What is elderflower?

The elderflower plant grows well in Australia and will grow “in most soil types, including wet soils.” It likes full sun, but will grow in part shade as well. In fact, it can grow too well, and is sometimes labelled a weed in Australia.

However, there are indigenous species that grow on the edge of rainforests in NSW and the Otway Ranges in Victoria. These species are regarded as important bush foods.

Elderflowers and elderberries are also a traditional medicinal plant. They’re packed with antioxidants and bioflavonoids, and the berries have a higher content of vitamins A, C and B6 than blueberries and cranberries.

It’s used to treat everything from stomach ache, constipation, diarrhoea, sore throats, colds, fungal and bacterial infections, bruises, skin conditions, and as an anti-inflammatory application for wounds.

Note that you must be careful using the raw plant due to potential toxicity. Heat destroys the toxins, and we heat the elderflowers here during the cordial-making process.

elderflower
Elderflower growing in my garden in Maitland, NSW Australia.

FUN FACT ABOUT ELDERFLOWER!

The botanic name for the genus is Sambucus, and when you know that the two common botanical flavourings in Sambuca liqueur are anise and elderberries, you will never forget the genus name for the shrub again.”

goodfood.com.au

Where to find Elderflower

The Elderflower shrub blooms from spring to autumn, and they are quite easy to grow. So if you have a nice, sunny spot, you might only need to step into your backyard to find some fresh elderflowers.

They do grow in the wild, however you need to be very careful that you know what you’re picking and that it is indeed elderflower.

You can also sometimes find elderflower at Farmer’s markets or specialty fruit and vege stores.

A recipe for Elderflower Cordial

To make Elderflower Cordial, you’ll need a large cloth, muslin cloth and sterilised bottles with lids (to hold about 1.5 litres of cordial).

You’ll need about 8-10 heads elderflower, along with:

  • 3 1/2 cups sugar (caster, granulated or white)
  • 4 cups water (one litre)
  • 2 medium lemons (sliced)
  • 3 teaspoons tartaric acid.

Begin making Elderflower Cordial by dipping the elderflower heads gently in water (to remove any bugs or other extras) and then add to a large saucepan.

Add water, sliced lemon and tartaric acid into the saucepan and then bring to the boil. Take off the heat and leave overnight, covered.

how to make elderflower cordial

The next day, remove as much of the lemon and elderflower as possible using tongs and then discard.

Add sugar to the mixture in the saucepan and stir over low heat to dissolve. Then bring to the boil and remove from heat immediately once it boils.

Allow to cool.

Strain using a muslin cloth, pour into sterilised bottles and seal with lids.

Done!

Enjoy your homemade ElderFlower Cordial with still or sparkling water, add it to a wine or cocktail. If you’re celebrating, create your own Elderflower Cordial Champagne by adding a little to your favourite bubbly. You could also mix it with Nana Ling’s Lime Cordial to make a Lime and Elderflower Cordial.

Find more interesting and old-fashioned drinks and cordials in the Cooking with Nana Ling Drinks collection.

elderflower cordial

Elderflower Cordial

A delicate and fragrant cordial, perfect with sparkling water or in a cocktail.
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Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Australian
Keyword: elderflower cordial
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Resting time: 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 1.5 litres
Calories: 1868kcal

Equipment

  • 1 large saucepan
  • muslin cloth
  • sterilised bottles

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups sugar (caster, granulated or white)
  • 4 cups water (one litre)
  • 8-10 heads elderflower
  • 2 medium lemons (sliced)
  • 3 teaspoons tartaric acid

Instructions

  • Dip elderflower head gently in water and then add to saucepan.
  • Add water, sliced lemon and tartaric acid into the saucepan and then bring to the boil. Take off the heat and leave overnight, covered.
  • The next day, remove as much of the lemon and elderflower as possible using tongs and discard.
  • Add sugar to the mixture in the saucepan and stir over low heat to dissolve. Then bring to the boil and remove from heat immediately once it boils.
  • Allow to cool.
  • Strain using muslin cloth, pour into sterilised bottles and seal with lids.

Nutrition

Calories: 1868kcal | Carbohydrates: 478g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 39mg | Potassium: 208mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 469g | Vitamin A: 32IU | Vitamin C: 76mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 1mg

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