Elder is a great tree; it gives so much. The flowers can be eaten straight form the tree, cooked in a tempura batter, used to make cordial or champagne. The berries are great for making a cough syrup and the wood can be used for fire by friction. And you’ll find jelly ear fungus on standing dead elder all year around. No wonder our ancestors revered this tree!
Usually around mid May the elder is in full bloom and we take the opportunity to collect some and make elderflower cordial.
- 1k sugar
- 1.5 litres of boiling water
- 4 medium lemons, washed (or you can try limes)
- 30 large Elderflower heads, shake to remove any insects
How to make the elderflower cordial
- Place the sugar into a large saucepan/stockpot or glass bowl
- Pour the boiling water over and stir until all the sugar has dissolved and leave to cool
- Grate the rind of the lemons with a fine grater, add to the sugar water
- Slice the lemons into thick slices and add to the water
- Add the citric acid and stir, then finally add the flower heads to the water and stir again
- Cover with a clean cloth and leave to steep for 48 hours
- Strain through clean fine muslin cloth into a clean bowl
- Using a funnel, fill sterilized bottles (see note below)
- Seal and store in a cool, dark place (not the refrigerator)
Elderflower cordial is delicious diluted with still or fizzy water or used as a flavoring in ice creams or in fruit fools.
Once a bottle is opened store in the refrigerator.
Depending on the time of year, we make elderflower cordial on our 1 day foraging course. You can see photos taken on this and all of our other courses on our Facebook page.