Flower power: elderflower cordial update

elderflower cordial, bottled

Drink anyone? LoveRichCashPoor makes elderflower cordial

As regular readers will know, I went on a foraging mission to appropriate some elderflowers from a local park at the weekend. I was pleasantly surprised at just how easy it was to find wild fauna and flora in London… I did not expect, however, for it to take me longer to find the key ingredients to make cordial from said elderflowers than it did to find the elderflowers themselves.

Mum’s recipe calls for citric acid. You can buy it in Boots, the recipe helpfully added.

Off LoveRichCashPoor toddled to Boots to ask the pharmacist for some citric acid. Suspicion flashed across the pharmacist’s eyes; I’ve received less disapproving looks when asking for considerably less savoury things.

“What do you need it for?” the pharmacist asked. “What is elderflower cordial?”

The pharmacist would not sell any to poor old LoveRichCashPoor. I guess people in central London do not make elderflower cordial all that often, and I would very much like to know what else citric acid is used for.

In fact, I visited no less than 11 pharmacies before I managed to score some elusive citric acid. In the end, an independent Turkish pharmacy on Kingsland Road came to my rescue. You can buy it on the internet, of course, but LoveRichCashPoor has sworn to use cash only and the interweb is not famed for accepting cash…

Anyways, I’m not sure who to attribute the recipe to, as my mum gave it to me. It’s a small, typewritten recipe that looks as if it has been passed down the generations. Mum, can you shed any light on this?

Makes three large bottles:

1.5kg of granulated sugar (yes, really – I was shocked, reader, I was shocked. The original recipe was in imperial measures. I am a metric gal, so I didn’t realise this until I started weighing out the sugar)

1.5 litres water

50g citric acid

3 lemons, sliced

25 elderflower heads

Pop the lemons, elderflowers and citric acid in a large bowl (check it will fit in the fridge first though).

Put the water and sugar in a large saucepan and heat until all the sugar has dissolved. Leave to cool.

Add the cooled sugar syrup to the bowl, stir and refrigerate over night.

Strain the cordial and decant into bottles, store in the fridge.

You can dilute it in still or sparkling water to make a delicious, refreshing drink. I’m going to use it for all sorts of exciting things too – I’ll keep you posted.

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9 comments
  1. Claire said:

    I think heroin users mix it with heroin – explains the dirty look!

    • Ha! Wikipedia didn’t offer up that explanation! I don’t know what is more worrying, that you know that or that I must have looked like a potential heroin user. I may have been a teensy bit hungover, but I can’t have looked that bad! X

  2. Margaret said:

    Hi Georgina, I saw your comment on Cherry Menlove’s blog today about wooden crates. I did leave a comment there but thought I would wander over here too. I bought a wooden crate a few years back and before I used it I treated it with a couple of coats of Cuprinol clear wood preserver, for interior and exterior use. It’s like a clearish liquid and it dries totally clear, in fact it doesn’t look like you’ve treated the wood. Like Cherry I lined mine with a plastic sack and it’s still going strong after being outside for approx. 4 years now. I like your blog, I’m going to have a browse around here now!

    • Margaret that is marvellous, thank you! I hope you enjoy your stay over here on LoveRichCashPoor… Come again soon!

  3. Janet said:

    Hi Darling the typewritten recipe came direct from the wonderful cook Mary Berry! Decades ago I went to one of her Aga cookery demonstrations at her beautiful house in Buckinghamshire and our aperitif was elderflower champagne (you mix the cordial with sparkling water to make it). I begged the recipe. I had the same trouble getting the citric acid in France and had to order it at the pharmacist. It cost nearly as much as I imaginge heroin costs too! Love the blog. Mum xxx

    • Ah The venerable Mary Berry! It was only £1.35 for a 50g sachet here, and I have to confess that when you said it was difficult to get, I was thinking ‘yeah, yeah, I live in London… I can buy anything, anytime!’ Lesson learnt: mum is always right! X

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