How to Make Elderflower Cordial

Veggie of the Week

How to Make Elderflower Cordial

Low Sugar Elderflower Cordial

Recipe by Joyce
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  • 3 unwaxed lemons

  • 20-30 fresh elderflower heads

  • 1.5k granulated sugar

  • 2L water


  • After picking the elderflower set the umbrels (flower heads) on a plate in the shade to allow the bugs to walk away. Any bugs that stay on you can brush off. Don’t worry if you missed some as you will later filter the cordial. I don’t recommend rinsing the umbrels as you will be losing some of the lovely flavour for your cordial.
  • Heat the water and stir in the sugar.
  • Allow to dissolve before bringing to a boil for a minute and then switch off the heat.
  • Take the zest from the lemons using a vegetable peeler and then slice the lemons into rounds.

  • Put the lemons into the pot (or transfer to a large bowl) and crush them slightly with a wooden spoon to get the juice out. Add the lemon zest and cover
  • Allow to infuse for 24hrs before straining through a tea towel over a colander. Squeeze to ensure you get all the lemon juice and syrup.
  • Decant into tall bottles and label before storing in the fridge (1-2 weeks) or freezer (3 months). I like to add a few tiny flowers and a slice of lemon to the bottles and label using washi tape.
  • In a 250ml glass of sparkling water with ice, I usually add 1 tablespoons of cordial, but you can make it to taste. Don’t forget to have in moderation as the acid in lemons can affect your teeth.


  • Elderflowers are ready in the Netherlands and the UK between April and early June. The flowers that are in direct sunlight on the plant will open first (the tiny flowers should be fully open) so keep coming back to check the tree.
  • Please collect responsibly when foraging; collect only a few umbrels from each tree, take only what you need, not more and don’t waste what you take. Most of all, enjoy yourself!
  • Adapted from this BBC recipe