Capture summer in a bottle
Follow our tips to make gorgeous elderflower cordial with your children.
Living a family life that is more in tune with the seasons is quite a tricky task in our fast paced society. Yet food instantly connects us with nature's timetable.
From growing our own to visiting pick-your-own farms or ignoring those supermarket strawberries in winter, there are plenty of things we can do to take into account the provenance of our food and eat what nature suggests we possibly should, when we should.
Looking to the hedgerows to fill our larder is a fun, seaonal family activity. Making elderflower cordial from the frothy treasure picked from bushes is like capturing summer in a bottle, just as we pick blackberries for crumble to wrap autumn up in a pud.
But if you want to make your own elderflower cordial you'll have to act fast; there are a few blossoms still ripe for picking but they will be gone very soon.
You will need:
- Eagle-eyed children to help you spot the blooms (they seem to be good at this)
- Approximately 30 flower heads (if you can't find this many reduce the rest of the recipe accordingly)
- 3 litres of water
- 2lb caster sugar
- 1 packet of citric acid (from chemists)
- 3 lemons
- Enough bottles to for three litres of cordial. Glass are best as they can be washed then dried in an oven to sterilise them.
To make the cordial:
- Dissolve the sugar in the water (some people use water from a kettle, we do ours on the hob)
- Wash the flowers gently to remove any bugs
- Slice the lemons
- Once the sugar solution is cool add lemons, citric acid and flowers
- Leave to steep in a cool place for 24 hours then strain the mix through a muslin (or a very fine sieve) and bottle up.
A friend has bottled up her homemade cordial to give as teachers presents (it will last a couple of months) and Jen at The Madhouse freezes hers in ice-cubes to pop into lemonade or water.
If you do want to make this, you have to be quick. If you can't find any elderflowers file the recipe away for next year. It is so simple (and cheap) to make yet quite expensive to buy it would be a shame not to.
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