This simple elderflower cordial has only 3 ingredients and no citric acid involved. Elderflower syrup is super useful and the true taste of springtime.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Homemade elderflower cordial is way better than anything you can buy in the shops
- There are only 3 ingredients in my elderflower syrup recipe and it is super easy to make
- Elderflower cordial isn’t just a drink, it can be used in other ways too, from a dessert topping to a roasting glaze
- Elderflower syrup is actually good for you
I love picking elderflowers every spring and have used them in lots of lovely recipes from my Elderflower Liqueur to Elderflower Jelly and the most delicious strawberry and elderflower jam to name just three.
Elder trees are incredibly common across the UK from parkland to the countryside they are everywhere. The leaves comprise 5-7 oval leaflets with feathery edges that form umbrels of creamy white tiny flowers. Elderflowers bloom from May till July and sometimes even August and have the most amazing floral scent.
You might know the elder tree by one of these other names, such as Black Elder, Ellhorn, Pipe tree, Bore tree, Eller and Holler.
These beautiful trees have many associations within folklore, for example, it was once believed that if you fell asleep under an elder in full bloom, you would be invited into the world of the fairies and be protected from evil spirits. It was also believed that if you chopped down an elder tree it would be replaced by a witch!
Elderflowers have been used for thousands of years for their medicinal and healing properties.
Elderflowers have both anti-septic and anti-inflammatory effects, so country folk have been using them in home-remedies for centuries. A mix of elderflower and water can be used to alleviate symptoms of anything from the common cold to some forms of arthritis.
The complete list of ingredients and full instructions for making this recipe can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Rules of foraging
- Seek permission before foraging. In certain areas, plant species will be protected so it is important to do some research and check with the landowner before you start gathering.
- Don’t pick elderflowers from the edge of a busy road as the flowers will be full of pollution from traffic.
- Only pick from areas that have a plentiful supply. Look for areas where you can find food in abundance and then only collect a small amount for personal use. Never completely strip an area as this could damage the species and deny another forager the chance to collect.
- Leave enough for wildlife and avoid damaging habitats. Many animals rely on plants for survival, so never take more than you plan to eat as this could also deny wildlife from a valuable food source. Be mindful about wildlife habitats and avoid disturbing or damaging them.
Ingredients for elderflower cordial
As I’ve already said there are only really 3 ingredients in this easy homemade elderflower syrup recipe and nothing remotely fancy involved.
This is an elderflower cordial recipe without citric acid!
Elderflowers – make sure your elderflowers are bright and fresh and not at all browned or aging.
lemons – You are going to use the zest of these lemons so either use unwaxed lemons or do what I do and simply wash your lemons under hot soapy water giving them a good scrub to remove the protective wax coating, rinse with cold water and pat dry on a clean tea towel.
Sugar – Just plain white sugar here. Don’t use brown sugar of any type as this will completely overpower the delicate taste of your elderflower cordial.
Water – okay, a fourth ingredient but we all have lots of that available from the tap in the kitchen thank goodness.
How to make elderflower syrup
This is such a super easy recipe, there really isn’t much hands-on work involved in making your own elder flower cordial, you are just letting time do the work overnight for you.
First, shake your elderflowers to remove any dust and isects and pick off the small stems and flowers, you don’t want the actual twigs but there again you don’t have to pick off every individual tiny flower head or you would soon lose the will to live!
Peel the zest off your lemons (see above in the ingredients section about removing the protective wax from store-bought lemons.
Half the lemons and squeeze out the juice and place this along with the elderflowers and lemon peel in a pan, pop on the lid and leave it for 24 hours for all those gorgeous flavours to dance together.
Strain the solids out of the now flavoured water, return to the pan and add your sugar.
Now simply heat this till the sugar is completely dissolved.
Then bring it up to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer (barely bubbling around the edges) for 20 minutes.
You can now congratulate yourself that you have made your very own homemade elderflower cordial, well done!
Now simply pour the elderflower syrup into a jug so it is safer to pour and pour into sterilised bottles and make sure that the lids are nice and tight.
How much does this recipe make?
I got approximately 750ml of elderflower cordial from this recipe. Use about a tablespoonful of the syrup when you are adding water for a cool drink.
How long does elderflower cordial keep?
Your homemade elder flower syrup/cordial will keep for up to a year in a nice cool cupboard. Once you have opened a bottle of your elderflower cordial store it in the fridge and use up within a month.
Please note I am in the UK and we don’t do all the canning processes etc that are done in USA. There are still lots of us left here in Europe and UK so this is perfectly safe.
How to serve elderflower cordial
Of course elderflower cordial is a drink first and foremost. You just add either plain tap water or fizzy water to turn your elderflower cordial into a lovely cooling and refreshing drink.
Chuck in some ice and even gin and you are on to a winner on a warm summer’s day!
Is elderflower cordial good for you?
Elderflower cordial has been used for centuries for its health benefits. It is particularly good for supporting the respiratory system, calms a runny nose and actually helps those who suffer from hay fever too.
I also use my elderflower syrup as a topping for homemade strawberry tarts. The delicate flavour of elderflowers makes them the perfect partner for summer strawberries.
Use your elderflower syrup as a topping for strawberries and cream or a fruit salad.
You can also use elderflower syrup as a glaze when roasting chicken or for roasting carrots.
Add elderflower cordial to your cocktails for a dash of springtime magic at any time of year.
Looking for more delicious elderflower recipes to try? Then check these out before you go;
Want more fun foraging recipes? Then check out my Foraging Section for a whole host of natural recipes to take you through the year.
Finally, if you do try this recipe don’t forget to leave a comment/star rating below as I just love to hear from readers. Want more Larder Love? Then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and sign up for my newsletter too of course.
Homemade Elderflower Cordial/Syrup
- 20 elderflower heads
- 2 lemons peel and juice
- 1 lt water
- 750 g sugar
- Remove dust and any insects from elderflowers and pick off the flowers and small stems and put them into a pan
- Remove wax from lemons in hot soapy water and nail brush then rinse and dry. Peel off zest and place this in the pan with the elderflowers and squeeze the lemon juice in too. Add the water, pop on the lid and let this stand for 24 hours.
- Strain out all the solids and return the liquid to the pan, add sugar and heat till this dissolves then bring to boil , lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- pour your elderflower cordial into sterilised bottles