Elderflower - Cordial, Vinegar, Vodka, Honey, Fizz

Elderflower is a fragrance and flavour which immediately transports me to idyllic summer memories. It’s easy to forage for and is fantastically versatile.

This is going to be a short blog on how to forage for and prepare elderflower, then a couple of things you can do with it. This should give you some basics and a few recipes but there’s so many uses for elderflower I hope to revisit this in the future. For now I wanted to get this posted while the elderflower is still in season and you can go out and forage for it. Here I’ll tell you how to make Elderflower Cordial, Elderflower and Juniper Vinegar, Elderflower and Lemon Vodka, Elderflower Honey and Elderflower Fizz.

I might add more recipes later for instance one of my favourite things to make is apple puree smoked by burning dried elderflower, it gives the puree a delicious smoked flavour but with the unique aroma of elderflower. This is something I use in a dish which will be going into my next book but I won’t give too much away about that for the moment.

For now I hope you find this blog helpful and if you’re limited for time and only make one thing from these recipes I’d say make the elderflower honey, it’s so simple and so delicious you really can’t go wrong.


Picking and Preparing Elderflower

Elderflower is in around in the UK from late May to early July. Its easiest to find in wooded areas and hedgerows. The fragrant flowers bloom on small Elder trees and are fairly easy to identify (but obviously if in doubt with any wild foraging go with someone who knows what they are looking for or consult guilds).

It’s best to pick elderflower in the morning when it is at it’s most fragrant and don’t leave it too long between picking and processing.

The way I find best to prepare my picked elderflower is to dip the heads of elderflower into a bowl of cold water to remove any hidden insects then allow the heads to dry upturned on paper towel. Then when using the elderflower in recipes trim off the flowers with as little of the stem as possible and discard the
excecess stems.

Bellow you will find some simple short recipes to get you started with using elderflower


Elderflower Honey

8 Heads elderflower
650g Honey

Simple mix the prepared elderflower into the honey and leave to infuse for one week.
Strain the elderflower honey and store in jars in a cool dark place.
This stuff is insanely delicious, especially with cheese!!

Elderflower Cordial

25 Heads elderflower
Juice and zest of four lemons
1kg Sugar
60g Citric acid
1.5 Litre water

Bring the water to a boil and pour it over the elderflower and lemon zest. Cover this over and leave to infuse for 24 hours.
Strain this liquid and add the sugar, lemon juice and citric acid to it.
Bring the liquid to a simmer for five minutes.
Allow to cool and finally bottle up.
Store short term in bottles at room temperature or long term in the freezer.
This is great in alcoholic or soft drinks and I also use it in various ways in cooking - especially desserts.


Elderflower Fizz

20 Heads elderflower
Juice and zest of four lemons
1.5kg Sugar
100ml White wine vinegar
8 Litres water

Mix together all the ingredients (except the elderflower) until the sugar is dissolved then and pour this liquid over the elderflower.
Leave this mixture to infuse for four days at room temperature.
Strain the infused elderflower liquid then pour it into bottles which can withstand carbonation.
Ferment the elderflower fizz for four weeks, checking on it regularly.
If it is not carbonated after four weeks you can leave it for up to four more weeks to fully ferment.
The elderflower fizz is lovely with an extra dash of elderflower cordial in it.

Elderflower Vodka

16 Heads elderflower
750ml Vodka
Zest of two lemons

Simply mix the prepared elderflower and lemon zest into the vodka.
Allow this mixture to infuse for two weeks then strain and keep it until you need it.

Elderflower and juniper Vinegar

16 Heads elderflower
1 Litre wine wine vinegar
25g Dried juniper berries

Heat the vinegar to a simmer then pour this over the prepared elderflower and dried juniper.
Leave this mixture to infuse for two weeks then strain and use as desired. It works well in simple dressings and pickles.