I know we should all be limiting our little ones’ sugar intake, particularly in juices and squashes, but I can’t resist making a batch or two of elderflower cordial at this time of year.

Last week the ‘blue one’ was gripped by the idea of harvesting the flowers and helping me make the cordial. It is the perfect task to be undertaken now when the elderflowers are in full bloom and as fragrant as ever. The ‘blue one’ helped pick the flowers and then stirred the cordial up and unsurprisingly 24 hours later became chief taster. Children adore making things they can consume and this is up there as number one, already I am being asked “can we go harvesting again mummy?”…


  • First pick your elderflowers, children in tow, ideally on a sunny day! (that could be the challenging bit)
  • 20-30 heads of elderflower
  • 1.4kg of white granulated sugar
  • 2 litres of water
  • 75 gms of citric acid (this is not as easy to find as it should be – really the only place is a chemist – if they don’t have it they can order it in)
  • 2 lemons


  • Put the sugar and water in a pan and slowly dissolve all the sugar over a gradual heat.
  • Pare the skin of the lemons with a vegetable peeler and slice into rounds.
  • Once all the sugar has dissolved add the lemon rind, lemon slices, elderflower heads (shake well beforehand) and citric acid – stir well and store covered for 24 hours.
  • After 24 hours stir well, sieve the cordial and bottle it. I store mine in the fridge and if I have too much there – pop into plastic bottles and store in the freezer.
  • A few ideas of how to use it……..
  • The obvious one: It is particularly good served with fresh mint, a lime slice and sparkling water.
  • Add a few tablespoons of the cordial to whipped cream and use in a pavlova with kiwi and grapes.
  • The cordial marries beautifully with gooseberries, in a tart, fool or just compote.
  • Used instead of vinegar for a dressing it is extremely good with broad beans, peas and feta.

Written by the wonderful Joanna Preston of Larder Saga. Check it out for other scrumptious ideas! 

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