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Elderflower Cordial


I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do.
John Muir

The magnificent Elder is a sight to behold, in early summer with its masses of creamy white fragrant blossoms, followed by the heavy dark drooping purple juicy berries at the end of the season.
The Elderflower (Sambucus nigra) takes me back many years ago when as children we would fill bin bags with the fragrant flowers in a nearby wasteland, enjoying the beautiful summery fragrance.

Returning home the flowers would be laid out on a specially made tray with a thin nylon mesh base. This would be set over the AGA where the warmth from below would dry out the herbs producing a sweet, gentle aroma that would fill the house.

The dried herbs would then be made into a tincture for medicinal uses. I remember being given a soothing warm drink of Elderflower, honey and other herbs if I had a virus or respiratory illness. It would help to produce a sweat, allowing the body to heal.

Elderflower is used for:

  • Sinusitis
  • Influenza
  • Bronchitis
  • Inducing sweating as a diaphoretic
  • Rheumatism
  • Constipation

Elderflower cordial


Elderflower Cordial


About 20 Elderflower heads

4 unwaxed lemons (grated zest and juice of)

1.5 litres of water

1 kilo sugar

1 heaped tsp of citric acid (optional)


Place the cleaned Elderflower heads in a bowl with the grated lemon zest and pour over 1.5 litres of boiled water.

Stir, cover and leave for about 24 hours.

Strain the liquid through a piece of muslin into a saucepan, and add the sugar, lemon juice and citric acid if using.

Heat gently to dissolve the sugar, bring to a simmer, turn off the heat and pour into sterilised bottles.

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