Homemade Elderflower Cordial — Fun Foraging with a Tasty Treat

Elderflowers are beautiful, lacy, creamy-white flowers, with a fabulous scent that smells like summer. The flowers grow on elder trees, and appear in hedgerows to signal the start of the sunny season. This weekend we just became aware of the yumminess of elderflower cordial and thought we would try to make our own homemade cordial. A fun and simple foraging and cooking activity for all ages. Super simple too!


Choose a dry sunny day, sever the stalks carefully with scissors and keep the flowers upright so that pollen, the source of much of that unique flavour and fragrance, will not be lost. We used a few cloth bags (plastic ones make the flowers wilt). Leave the leaves behind. Only the newly opened flowers are best, any brown ones mean it is past its prime and the cordial won’t taste as sweet.

Have a good pick through at home to remove any bugs rather than washing them. Trim as much stalk off as you can before use. Then, you can begin to make your cordial with a few easy ingredients.


12 large elderflower heads
600g granulated sugar
700ml litres water
2 unwaxed lemons

Heat the sugar and water in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Strip large ribbons of zest off the lemons with a vegetable peeler, then slice the lemon finely and place in a large bowl with the elderflower heads.

Pour the hot syrup over the lemons and elderflower heads and give it a good stir. Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave it for 24 hours to steep.

Strain the mixture with muslin over a sieve and pour into sterilized bottles. In addition to one large bottle for immediate use, I also filled an ice cube tray with the cordial so I could add it to a pitcher of water later, great for entertaining on hot days! It is a bit sugary for my children, but a little bit as a treat is ok. And since we had a lot of cordial after our enthusiastic picking, we made some bottles with labels to give as homemade end of year gifts to teachers.

However you enjoy or share this — diluted with water, in sparkling soda, or even to make poached pears, I am sure it will be delicious! And I might even treat myself and try Esther and Emilie’s yummy Hugo Champagne Spritzer.

Lara xx



Comments (4)

June 6, 2017

I adore elderflower everything! Unfortunately it’s not so readily available in Virginia. What we do have by the tone is honeysuckle, though, and a few weeks ago I made a honeysuckle cordial with a similar recipe. Delicious!!!

Lara in London
July 11, 2017

Honeysuckle cordial sounds delicious, I will have to try it some day!

Esther in Amsterdam
June 6, 2017

Perfect timing! I was going to make elderflower cordial this weekend! (We have a rare sort of pink elderflower in our garden!) xx

June 7, 2017

I’m on the hunt this weekend!!! Looks so good

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