elderflower cordial
elderflower cordial

Making Elderflower Cordial


July 19, 2015

We visited a friend's house a couple of days ago and the kids fancied collecting elderflowers near their house so they could make cordial. If you're never tasted elderflower cordial, then you're missing out, it's like Summer in a glass. You can buy the cordial in the shops, in fact I was given a lovely bottle of Richmount Elderflower cordial as a gift earlier this week which was really tasty. This is something though that's really fun to so with the kids over the summer holidays.

Collecting elderflower

Before you can make your cordial, you need to collect your elderflowers. Early into the summer season, a white veil will start to appear in hedgerows which is a sign that flowers are starting to appear on the elder tree. This is the time to get collecting. Things to remember when collecting :

  • Avoid busy road sides as the flowers will have absorbed some of the pollution
  • Only collect when it's dry, not after it's been raining
  • The ideal time to collect the flowers is when they are just opening and some flower buds are still closed
  • Don't collect every single flower, leave some for next year!
  • Just snip the flower heads, avoid the stalks
  • Make sure you're collecting elderflower and not cow parsley which looks very similar
  • When washing flowers, be gentle as you don't want to affect the delicate fragrance but you need to make sure that all insects are removed!
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • 15 mins

    15 mins

    30 mins

  • Yields: Many servings!


2.5 kg caster sugar

2 unwaxed lemons

25 elderflower heads

85g citric acid (can buy in a pharmacy)

1.5 litres water


Put the sugar and water in a large heavy based saucepan and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil.

Remove from the heat.

Add the washed flowers, zest of 2 lemons, sliced lemons and citric acid.

Cover and leave for 24 hours to infuse.

Sieve through a clean tea towel or muslin cloth into sealed sterilised bottles.

Once opened, keep in the fridge.

The kids can do mostly everything with this recipe - obviously they need to be accompanied collecting the flowers from roadsides and with the boiling water.


You can dilute one part cordial to two parts water to make scrummy ice lollies.

Thanks Ciara for the recipe 🙂



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