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Summer

Food & Drink, Summer

Elderflower Cordial Recipe

elderflower cordial

elderflower cordial

Can you believe I’ve been waiting to share this elderflower cordial recipe with you for a whole year?  I made this boozy elderflower cordial at the peak of elderflower season last year but I didn’t want to share it before tasting it in case it didn’t taste right.  By the time it was ready and had the Moral Fibres seal of approval by that point elderflower season was over.

As it tasted so good, this year I thought I’d share the homemade elderflower cordial recipe early on in the season so there’s plenty of time for you to go out and pick!  Here in Edinburgh the elderflowers are just coming out into bloom at the moment.  If you’re further south they may in bloom already.

how to make elderflower cordial

Step One – Foraging for Elderflowers

elderflower picking

My secret elderflower foraging spot!

First up you’ll need to find and pick your elderflowers.   Elderflowers are pretty ubiquitous around the UK and are likely to be found in woods, beside rivers or canals, in graveyards, etc.    Another common place is beside roads, but I’d tend to avoid picking beside busy roads.

Elderflowers are quite easy to spot – look for a flowering bush, with delicate white flowers and a distinct sambuca like smell.  If in doubt I found a handy elderflower identification guide that you might find useful.  If you’re still in doubt don’t pick anything and ask an expert!

what do elderflowers look like

This is what you’re looking for!

Once you’ve found your elderflowers bear in mind it’s best to pick elderflowers on a dry sunny day, in the morning, when the flowers are at their most fragrant.  This apparently translates to a richer sweeter flavour, but if it’s late afternoon don’t worry too much!  Avoid picking at ground level (dogs!) – pick from the higher branches.  You also want to make sure that you pick nice creamy white flower heads – anything brown or a bit discoloured may taste a bit bitter.

Give the flowerheads a good shake before you put them in your bag to dislodge any insects, and try not to pick from just the one bush.  The elderflower cordial recipe calls for about fifteen elderflower heads.

Step Two – The Elderflower Cordial Recipe

homemade elderflower cordial

Boozy Elderflower Cordial Recipe

This boozy elderflower cordial is smooth and mellow, and is the perfect taste of summer all year round. Serve with tonic or soda water, or lemonade, or serve straight up over ice.

Ingredients

  • A 1 litre capacity jar
  • About 15 elderflower heads see above for how to identify and pick elderflowers
  • 1 litre of cheap generic vodka
  • One large lemon
  • 5 tablespoons of sugar

Instructions

  1. Dip your elderflowers in water and give them a good shake to dry. Peel a lemon, and keep the peel to the side.
  2. Then add your flowers to a sterilised jar, adding the lemon peel as you go so it’s evenly distributed in the jar. Keep going until you've added as much elderflower as the jar will hold and all of the lemon peel.
  3. Add 5 teaspoons of sugar, about 5 mls of juice from your lemon, and pour in the vodka until you’ve completely submerged all of the elderflowers. Screw the lid on and give the jar a good shake.
  4. Leave for four weeks in a cool dark place, shaking occasionally to mix the sugar in.
  5. During the four weeks it’s really worth occasionally opening your jar to check that the vodka is still covering the elderflowers otherwise the top ones might go a bit brown and make it taste a bit bitter. If this happens just take out the brown flowers and top up with more vodka.
  6. Once your four weeks are up sieve your mix to remove the flowers and lemon peel, and decant your flavoured vodka into a sterilised bottle or jar. It will keep for onwards of a year!

 You can drink your cordial straight over ice, or add some lemonade, tonic or soda water for a refreshing summer drink.

You can add any flavours you want to your elderflower cordial.  I added a punnet of local raspberries in another jar as and it turned out beautifully.  Elderflower cordial tastes like summer at the best of times, but the addition of raspberries was extra summery!  Strawberries, cherries or blackberries would also work well, I’d imagine, but blackberries are never ready here in Edinburgh in time for elderflower season!

I got a bit carried away and ended up with three large jars of elderflower cordial!  I had intended to give some of it away, but, ahem, that didn’t quite happen…!   I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that after a year this is all we have left of our supply:

elderflower cordial recipe

Needless to say I’ll be out elderflower foraging in the next few weeks, and getting funny looks at the local shop for buying so much vodka!

Hope you enjoy this elderflower cordial recipe – bottoms up!

ps: keep an eye out for elderberries later in the season.  You can make this delicious non-alcoholic spiced elderberry syrup from them!  I made a small batch last year, which we used up far too quickly.  I have made a mental note to make triple what I made as it was just incredible (and I’m not 100% certain if it was down to the syrup but I didn’t catch the cold once over the winter season…).

Food & Drink, Summer

Fruit and Vegetables in Season in June

in season june

fruit and vegetables in season in June uk

June has come round so quickly, don’t you think?  It doesn’t seem like all that long ago I shared what UK fruits and vegetables are in season in May, and here I am sharing what’s in season in June!

I always find June such an exciting time, food wise.  A lot of the nice soft fruit is coming into season (hello strawberries!) and there’s such a wide array of lovely British vegetables in season.  Peas and broad beans are at their very best in June, so if you’re growing your own make sure you get out and get picking!

Even if you’re not growing your own, here’s what fruit, vegetables and herbs are in season in June so you know what to look out for at the shops.  You can also download this guide as a printer-friendly shopping list – download the PDF here for free: Fruit and Vegetables in Season in June.

uk fruit in season in june

Fruit In Season In June

Apricots

Blackcurrants

Cherries

Elderflower

Gooseberries

Nectarines

Raspberries

Rhubarb

Strawberries (this strawberry and basil cocktail is highly recommended!)

 

broad beans june

Vegetables In Season In June

Asparagus

Aubergine

Broad Beans

Cabbage

Carrots

Chicory

Courgette

Cucumber

Curly Lettuce

Fennel bulbs

French Beans

Globe artichoke

Lamb’s Lettuce

Mangetout

New Potatoes

Onions

Pak Choi

Peas

Radish

Rocket

Spinach

Spring Onion

Tomatoes

Turnips

Watercress

mint season uk

Herbs In Season In June

Angelica

Chervil

Mint

 

The eagle-eyed among you will notice I’ve been quite loose with my interpretation of what constitutes as fruit and what constitutes as vegetables.  Rather than get all botanical, and classify tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, etc, as fruit (as that is what they actually are),  I’ve gone with the popular classification choice!  I hope no-one minds!  I’ve also snuck in some herbs for you this month too!  Don’t say I’m not good to you!

What’s on your menu this month?

ps don’t forget the PDF!

 

Images:  1.  Pixabay / 2.  Wikimedia Commons / 3.  Wikimedia Commons  / 4.  Wikimedia Commons