Campions and wild carrots are in full bloom in the long grass, daisies stride across our lawn and the wild cherries burst in brilliant red from the trees. Dog roses bob gently in the breeze, curling in and out of the honeysuckle. The gentle fragrance of elderflowers wafts up the lane as the warmth of the sun releases the scent of summer. This is what you bottle when you make elderflower cordial.
A fragrance of times gone by and as British as strawberries and cream tea. Not as quick to rustle up, but not difficult either. A little patience and an overnight steep, fills the bottles with sun and summer.
Elderflowers grow wild along most country lanes, gather in a bowl or roomy carrier bag, on the day you’re going to use them, they don’t keep well. Give each blossom a little shake to de bug and then pop in your bag or bowl.
Elderflower and pomegranate Cordial
Makes about 2 litres
- 1.5 kilos (7 and 1/2 cups) sugar
- 1.5 litres (6 cups and 4 tablespoons) of water
- 30 elderflower heads, various sizes
- 3 lemons, unwaxed
- Seeds from 4 pomegranates
- 50g (3 and 1/2 tablespoons) citric acid
- Sterilised bottles for storage
- Put the sugar and water in a large pan and bring to the boil, simmer until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid is clear
- Meanwhile, place the elderflowers in a large bowl or jug
- Thinly peel the lemons, keeping the rind and thinly slicing the lemon flesh, place in the bowl or jug with the elderflowers
- Add the pomegranate seeds and sprinkle on the citric acid
- Pour over the boiled sugar water, cover with a cloth and put in a cool dark place to steep overnight
- The following day, line a nylon sieve (metal may taint the flavour) with a muslin cloth or clean tea towel and sieve the mixture into a jug
- Discard the all the bits, pour the sieved cordial into sterilised bottles and place in the fridge. They will keep for about 1 month.
- Dilute to taste with water, sparkling water or sparkling wine
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