During the month of June, the creamy white heads can be harvested to make a home brewed elderflower cordial, which makes a very popular and fragrant summer drink and can be as strong a tradition as blackberry or apple pie.
Traditional elderflower cordial makes about 750ml (a normal wine bottle).
1 Lemon. Grate the rind and slice the fruit.
35g Citric Acid
10 Elderflower heads
Put the sugar in a large bowl and pour on boiling water to dissolve into a syrup. Add the grated lemon rind, and the rest of the lemon, the citric acid and the flower heads. Leave for 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Sieve through a muslin bag, pour into clean bottles and seal with screw cap tops.
It keeps for 6 months or you can freeze it as ice cubes or in plastic bottles (leaving room for expansion).
Elderflower cordial is made like this on a commercial basis which results in various distinctive tastes. Some companies use cold water sieving to remove impurities, whereas others pasteurise but the essential ingredients are the same, namely, sugar, flower heads, water, citric acid and lemons.
Despite its homely origins, commercial elderflower cordial is seen as a sophisticated adult cordial soft drink and sells in several supermarkets.
Acknowledgment to Anne Gatti of Daily Telegraph “On the Revival of Elderflower Cordial