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Amirah

Making Elderflower Cordial

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Hello All!

I have always liked elderflower drinks (mainly greenbottle and belvoir!) So I've been thinking of making my own elderflower cordial, because I've read it tastes a lot nicer. I finally took the plunge and used our sunny bank holiday to the flowers and leave them in a sugear syrup to steep. I a took a small amount out of the bowl, added some water to dilute, and I was so dissapointed! It tastes... horrific and left a really odd after taste! I did realise that it was much to concentrated and it did become more pallatable when I diluted it further. Does anyone know what could have gone wrong? I pretty much followed the recipe exactly (from British Baking, Peyton and Byrne) which called for 30heads of elderflower, which I wasn't entirely sure how much, so I used everything I picked, which may have been more. Also, it didn't say anywhere to take the flowers off the stems, so I left small bits on in the syrup- fatal error?

The only other thing I can think of is, I like the taste of the mass produced stuff, and don't like the flavour of 'real elderflower'?

Any help would be awesome!

A

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A horrible flavour can develop if you don't sterilize the equipment correctly. I use boiling water and leave it for several minutes.

I never take the flowers off the stems and it hasn't hurt so far so that's not likely to be the culprit.

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I have made the cordial with the stems on (and had plenty that was made that way), but the stems do make for a stronger flavour that not everyone likes, and might be a problem for someone who is used to the commercially made product, so it's probably worth trying a 'flowers only batch' once, before throwing in the towel.

What recipe do you use?

Ah, I didn't realise the stems would make such a difference. The recipe is:

2lb sugar

1.3l boiling water

4 lemons

70g citric acid

30 large elderflower heads

Dissolve sugar and water over heat, cool.

Grate in lemon rind, slice lemons and add to syrup.

Add citric acid, stir, add flowers.

Cover with cloth, leave for 48 hours.

Strain through sterile muslin into sterile bowl, pour through sterile funnel into sterile bottles.

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Thanks for the replies! I will definitely have to give a 'flowers only' batch a go.

Mjx, thanks for the link to your recipe, I think I will give that a go, as you've used a lot less citric acid than my recipe called for!

PV, I think the recipe I used was similar to yours, but had a lot more sugar! 30 elderflower heads/2kg sugar/1.5l water/3 lemons/80g citric acid. :wacko:

I think I need a new recipe. I'm just wondering what to do with the 1.5l of cordial I have sitting in the fridge! Lol!

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When I made elderflower wine some years ago, I soaked the elderflowers in boiling water. I always remove stems where possible and when making wine, all of the equipment is thoroughly cleaned beforehand. The recipe above looks good. the addition of a small amount of lemon and additional ascorbic acid is a good idea. You might want to look up some elderflower wine recipes too (minus the fermentation part naturally). Let us know how it turns out please.

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I've used this recipe before http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/516164 which isn't too different to the one above except that uses half the amount of lemon and only 24 hour infusion. The result is not much different to the bottle green variety except that mine was a little more floral and needed less cordial. I haven't compared it between stalked / unstalked versions though. Other considerations though are; were they defiantly elderflowers (not ground elder or cow parsley - some people have confused them), were they collected from an unpolluted area & not at animal height, and were they picked at their prime and used straight away - they need to be open and smelling very floral - gives some indication of the fragrance the cordial will have, try not to use them once they turn brown.

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Making elderflower champagne using this recipe:

8 pints water

575g caster sugar

2TBS white wine vinegar

Peel and juice of one unwaxed lemon

6 elderflower heads

I cut the flowers off this time, following the advice in this thread. You steep it for 24hrs, then strain through sterile muslin into sterile bottles (best are plastic ones with ridges, as these can expand without exploding). Leave in a cool place for 2-3 weeks.

It smells beautiful already.

001 (480x640).jpg002 (640x480).jpg


Edited by Plantes Vertes (log)

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I have made the cordial with the stems on (and had plenty that was made that way), but the stems do make for a stronger flavour that not everyone likes, and might be a problem for someone who is used to the commercially made product, so it's probably worth trying a 'flowers only batch' once, before throwing in the towel.

What recipe do you use?

Ah, I didn't realise the stems would make such a difference. The recipe is:

2lb sugar

1.3l boiling water

4 lemons

70g citric acid

30 large elderflower heads

Dissolve sugar and water over heat, cool.

Grate in lemon rind, slice lemons and add to syrup.

Add citric acid, stir, add flowers.

Cover with cloth, leave for 48 hours.

Strain through sterile muslin into sterile bowl, pour through sterile funnel into sterile bottles.

Plantes Vertes, does this give more of a syrup or a concentrate? Also, have you come across any discussion of the reason for the long steep? I've found nothing and keep puzzling over it; my only guess is that it is intended to extract from any stalks present, and that their flavour is/was traditionally an intrinsic part of the cordial's overall profile.

Sorry, I didn't notice this until elderflower season swung back round... :smile:

Could you tell me the difference between the syrup and the concentrate? It's definitely very sugary, thick, sticky and sweet-tasting so probably syrup.

For the long steep, I'm not sure either; I hadn't investigated but I see now that the recipes online suggest between 24hrs and 5 days, with and without stems. My guess is that the ambient temperature makes a lot of difference and that this explains different traditions to some degree; the rest of the variation is just random hand-me-down wisdom.

I'm going to experiment and report back, so the next few days will see us both crazily plunging in and out of the undergrowth :biggrin:


Edited by Plantes Vertes (log)

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IMG_0661.jpg

This lives in my back yard. Planted it a couple of years ago - it has done well! Sambucus nigra - black lace elderberry.

IMG_0657.jpg

I took 20 umbels from it this morning, stripped off the flowers, added peel and juice of 3 lemons, along with the shells of the lemons, 70 grams of citric acid and hot syrup made from 970 grams of sugar (cause that's all the sugar I had in the house) and about the same weight in water.

It didn't smell all that good when I first put it together - but each time I walk by it now it smells quite wonderful.

I'll bottle it up tomorrow.

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. . . .

Could you tell me the difference between the syrup and the concentrate? It's definitely very sugary, thick, sticky and sweet-tasting so probably syrup.

. . . .

That does sound like a syrup. I was curious, because traditional Danish recipes (the only ones I've tried so far) yield a somewhat concentrated liquid that you dilute about 1:1 or 1:2 with water, while I have the impression that what you're getting something more concentrated, used perhaps by the spoonful..?

Weather isn't looking too ghastly today, and I have several nice clumps of elders staked out :smile:

Oh yes, it's much more concentrated. Dilute probably 1:6-8. Or choke yourself and then go into hyperglycaemic shock... :sad:


Edited by Plantes Vertes (log)

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In that way,

When you gather flowers , do not crop one area, but move on.

You could end up with , what I can only describe as cat like hints .


Martial.2,500 Years ago:

If pale beans bubble for you in a red earthenware pot, you can often decline the dinners of sumptuous hosts.

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This year's elderflower cordial in the making - due to exams, I nearly missed the season, but sometimes, one has to consider to get priorities right....

 

It's basically elderflowers, boiling water, lemons and sugar, with a bit of citric acid thrown in for good measure. It needs to steep for 5 days, then it is strained and bottled and, hey presto: summer in a bottle

 

IMAG0954.jpg

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This year's elderflower cordial in the making - due to exams, I nearly missed the season, but sometimes, one has to consider to get priorities straight...

 

I miss elderflower cordial so badly... I used to make it every early summer. This year I was away during elderflower season here in Canada, plus I am not even sure where I could forage for the flowers.

Yummm, your cordial looks delicious, mette!

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I miss elderflower cordial so badly... I used to make it every early summer. This year I was away during elderflower season here in Canada, plus I am not even sure where I could forage for the flowers.

Yummm, your cordial looks delicious, mette!

 

Hi Diana,

 

Bottlegreen do a very passable commercial elderflower cordial, and it's available in Canada  :smile:

 

http://thecraftybartender.com/shop/bottle-green-elderflower-cordial-500-ml/

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We used to do elderflower wine before  I got badly intolerant to lemons.  Some years it would be slime green due to the flowers.


Cheese is you friend, Cheese will take care of you, Cheese will never betray you, But blue mold will kill me.

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I miss elderflower cordial so badly... I used to make it every early summer. This year I was away during elderflower season here in Canada, plus I am not even sure where I could forage for the flowers.

Yummm, your cordial looks delicious, mette!

Diana - by Thursday I suspect my elderberry will be in full blossom - what are you up to on Thursday?

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Oh, I was sure I had missed the season! Thursday works great. I am not up to much these days, just the good ol' babysitting duty. :) Would you be willing to share some of the blooms?

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I left Kerry's today with an abundance of elderflowers, and so I had enough to make the lightly fermented, Eastern European version, as well as the syrup based on Kerry's recipe upthread. The former pictured here:

image.jpg

This will take about 3-4 days to develop the right flavour and the characteristic fizzy-ness, while the syrup already has a beautiful, floral scent.

There were still flowers left, those I am drying and they'll get used for herbal tea in the fall or winter.

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...and the elderberry syrup is ready. Not only does it have this beautiful coral colour, but it tastes amazing too, that particular floral aroma that screams summer. I can't wait to pour it over some chilled prosecco. Yum.

image.jpg

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And there are more blossoms already on the elderberry - so if I remember when I get home from work tonight I'll cut some and make a small batch myself.  Note to self - will need lemons!

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If you don't have a chance to make it, come by and I'll gladly share some of mine. :)

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I finally got around to trying my hand at some elderflower cordial.  I picked the umbrels off trees I spotted along Grimes Canyon Road when I was driving over to Fillmore to the bakery on Saturday morning.  As I was driving home, I was dismayed to see a lot of little bugs crawling out of the bag I'd collected the flowers in.  Luckily, they stayed over on the passenger side and I maintained my composure to deal with the twisty parts of Grimes Canyon

730836958_Image5-13-20at8_07AM.thumb.jpeg.1b0de720d9875ea7116c7b3f62ef1f92.jpeg

and I made it safely home. 

I Googled the bug issue and found some people suggested rinsing the flowers to get rid of them.  So I did that.  Then I read other comments that the flowers should not be rinsed because they are so delicate and you'll lose a lot of flavor.  Oh well.  

I found what sounded like a better plan - to spread the flowers out on a clean white cloth and keep moving them to another cloth or area until no more bugs come out.  I'll do that next time.  It's pretty easy to separate the flowers from the bugs on the cloth as the bugs seem to hang on or stick to the cloth and you can easily dump the flowers off.  I think most of the bugs actually crawled off the flowers on to the bag shortly after picking.  

I did almost abandon the whole business at this time but decided to continue.

My harvest, after unadvisable rinsing, spread out on a clean cloth.  

IMG_2445.thumb.jpeg.6e9ce99809e232f0e6f94bb98b7f9bf8.jpeg

This is still outside, mind you.  I wasn't ready to bring them in the house yet!

I went through them, snipped off any stems and tossed out the umbrels that still had a lot of unopened buds. 

Here they are in the white pot after cleaning, with the discards on the left:

IMG_2448.thumb.jpeg.28366584c6a619fcb0a111208600c9ee.jpeg

I'd weighed them before rinsing and I had about 500g of flowers.  I didn't bother weighing them afterwards since they were still a bit damp. They took up a volume of around 4.5 liters.

I used the general proportions that @Mjx described during her blog in this post:  2 liters water, 500 g sugar, zest & juice of 3 limes (I may have used 4 or 5), 1 T or 15g citric acid. I followed the general instructions in David Lebovitz's Drinking French and brought the water, sugar, zest and juice to a boil, poured the hot mixture over the blossoms and let them sit for 3 days, stirring once a day.  The citric acid was added at the end by dissolving it in a small volume of the steeping liquid, then mixing everything together before straining into bottles. 

I put everything through a nut milk bag and squeezed it to extract as much liquid as possible.  I ended up with about 2.4 liters of cordial.  The spent flowers are in the beaker between the two liter bottles. 

IMG_2453.thumb.jpeg.6918fa3de452d49c628b5cfe9db7f1da.jpeg

I put ~ 1.5 oz into ~ 8 oz sparkling water and found it quite nice.  I'm happy with this level of sweetness.  

I have a batch of elderflower and prosecco popsicles in the freezer. 

 

 

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