Sunday, 1 July 2012

Cordial Sunday greetings to you!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not the only one in our family who's working hard at being frugal.  We're a frugal team, even if we don't always talk to each other about our money and environment-saving projects.  After our recent gardening misadventures, this week's Elderflower Cordial project can be deemed one of our more successful frugal partnerships!

Elderflower is in full blossom and very abundant around here at the moment, so when Husband suggested making some Cordial, I jumped at the idea.  (That was after I'd fallen off my chair with surprise, as he's not really an Elderflower Cordial kind of guy; he's more a few-glasses-of-Merlot man.)

Husband collected some elderflower heads and we were off.

It's really is surprisingly simple:

After making a syrup of boiling water, sugar, citric acid and lemon slices, you add the (thoroughly rinsed) elder flowers.  We stripped them off the stems as we didn't have room for them in our biggest pan. (That's Husband's hairy legs by the way, not mine.)

You leave the pan in a cool place and stir occasionally:

After approximately 24 hours, you strain the syrup through a muslin, (or in our case, our most hygienic tea towel), and bottle it in sterilised bottles:

Husband was tempted to leave out the citric acid, as we didn't have any hanging around the house.  I insisted that it must be in the ingredient list for a reason, so after Googling it and reading on some forums that citric acid is not easy to get hold of as it is a bomb-making ingredient (*?!), I went shopping for it with some trepidation.  In North Wiltshire however, it is easy to find in the local health food shop, although I was rather alarmed when they reassured me that if I found I had bought too much I could put the rest to another use...bomb-making? my kettle!

We conducted a small experiment and found that the citric acid does serve a purpose; without it the syrup tastes like a sugary syrup.  With it, the Elderflower Cordial tastes like, well, Elderflower Cordial!


30 elderflower heads

1.7l/3 pints boiling water
2 0z/50g citric acid/ 1/4 cup citric acid
2 unwaxed oranges sliced
3 unwaxed lemons sliced

We increased the ingredients to 45 elderflower heads, 4.5 pints etc, and spent about £2.00 on ingredients, which filled 4 wine bottles.  That works out at 50p per bottle.  I'm sure a bottle of commercially made Elderflower Cordial would be much more, so we reckon it was £2.00 well spent.

The end result is delicious, and even Husband relinquished his beloved weekend beer and red wine, and has been found in the garden, sipping on a glass of the golden nectar!  Cheers!


  1. I love elderflower cordial - so refreshing and it gives you a good feeling when you get something free from nature too!

    1. Yes, food for free is always good! You've reminded me I was going to put a costing in, so I'll go back and do works out at a very reasonable price per bottle! Welcome to the blog by the way and thanks for commenting!

  2. I've never tried this before. I wonder if it can be made with other kinds of blossoms.
    I use citric acid in making bath bombs (those fizzies that you drop in a tub) and bath salts. I buy citric acid at a cake decorating/candy making supply. You can also find them with canning supplies at some markets. Its what is used to add to peaches to prevent browning when making preserves. In my area, it's cheapest to buy it through the cake and candy supply shop.

    1. I don't know about other blossoms - will have to look into that! Bath bomb that's a thing I haven't tried! Perhaps there's confusion between bath bomb making and bomb making. I've learnt a lot about citric acid this weekend!

  3. Am going to try this, looks lovely!
    Have e mailed you as I think I might be the lost Sarah!

  4. Thanks for getting in touch, Sarah! I'm glad you became Sarah the Found, rather than Sarah the Lost!