At Cornercopia, they like to use the natural bounty of the world around them and keep old traditions alive through things like preserves and cordials. Here is one of their favourites. Elderflower cordial is delicious with sparkling water and a slice of lemon – it also goes very well indeed with sparkling wine or as the base for a summer cocktail. Mix with English white wine, cucumber and strawberries for an English sangria. You will find elderflowers growing in urban gardens, city parks, hedgerows, woods or even wasteland. It often grows where nothing else survives and it’s a sign for me that summer is on its way when the fragrant flowers open.
Cut large clusters of flowers from an elderflower tree, making sure you avoid trees close to main roads. Make sure the flowers are dry when you pick them and shake them to rid them of any insects. Remove the flowers from the stalks (which make the cordial bitter) and put them in a large bowl.
Put the sugar and the cold water in a large pan and bring to the boil to make a syrup. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool. Pour the syrup over the flowers and mix in the citric acid and lemon slices. Leave overnight to steep.
Next day strain the syrup through a clean muslin cloth into a large bowl or pan to remove the flowers and lemon slices. Pour into clean glass or plastic bottles and store in the fridge: it will keep for several months.
You can save the lemon slices and freeze them in a single layer on silicone paper; then add to your summer drinks for extra flavour.
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