After smelling all the wonderful elderflowers blooming in our local woodlands this spring, we decided to test out making homemade elderflower cordial.
The elderflower scent is supposed to be stronger in the morning, so we got up early to forage. There is plenty in our local area, but we were careful to only pick a few from each tree. Elderflower comes from the elder tree that is usually in season from May to July and can be found all over Britain and Northern Europe.
Elderflower in Norse mythology
Elderflower is described in Norse mythology and in folk tales as having love and fertility linked to it. In Norwegian, it’s called Hylleblomst, which literally means “Shelf flower”. Always remember to thank the “shelf” mom before harvesting from the tree! If you want to honour the love goddess Frey, you can give the tree some wine or milk. Diseases can be “shelved”, but beware they will not come back if you harvest from the same tree!
Making the cordial
- Cut around 20 elderflower heads
- Cut lemons in slices with zest (organic if possible)
- Boil 1.5 litres of water with 1.5 kg granulated sugar
- Pour the water mix over the elderflowers, stir well and leave for 24 hours in a cool place.
- Strain through a muslin cloth and pour into sterilised bottles
- Refrigerate and enjoy
Now also a Royal favourite
A staple of Ikea and a popular drink throughout Scandinavia for years, Elderflower started to get a lot of publicity in the UK after the Sussexes used elderflower as an ingredient in their wedding cake as opposed to the traditional fruit cakes that are usually served at British weddings.
Speaking to members of the press at Buckingham Palace, chief wedding cake baker Claire Ptak said the cake is made up of lemon sponge with an elderflower syrup drizzled on the sponge. And as noted by British food writer Bee Wilson in The New Yorker:
Kensington Palace tweeted the key ingredients that was used in the Elderflower flavoured wedding cake:
- 200 Amalfi lemons
- 500 organic eggs from Suffolk
- 20 kgs of butter
- 20 kgs of flour
- 20 kgs of sugar
- 10 bottles of Elderflower Cordial from the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk.
They didn’t say if they had any leftover or if they used all the 10 bottles for the cake, but adding Elderflower cordial to gin and tonic would have made a great drink for the wedding party!