Elderflower Cordial

This elderflower cordial recipe is made for late spring when the bees are humming and the elderflowers come out. The cordial is made with the flowerheads, which are best picked on a warm, sunny day when the buds are freshly opened. Give them a little shake to remove any insects and a brief dunk in cool, clean water and drain on a clean tea towel before using.

Use white or pink elder flowers, or a mixture of both. If you want pink cordial, use pink flowers! The flowers infuse in their liquid overnight, but the cordial will be ready to use immediately.

  • 1.5kg (31b 5oz) sugar
  • 2 litres (3½ pints) water
  • 2 large oranges
  • 3 lemons
  • 60g (2¼0z) citric acid
  • 20-25 heads of elderflower

Makes about 3 litres (5 pints)


Put the sugar and water into a large pan. Bring to the boil, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat. Slice the oranges and lemons and place in a large plastic bucket or stainless steel bowl along with the citric acid.

Add the elderflower heads, pour the warm sugar syrup over and stir well. Cover with a lid or tea towel and leave somewhere cool overnight.

Strain the syrup through muslin to remove all the bits, then pour into sterilized bottles. Store somewhere cool, and in the fridge once opened. The citric acid will help it keep for 3-4 months in the fridge. Or it can be frozen in plastic containers. You can also freeze the flowerheads and add them to the hot syrup straight from the freezer.

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