Cordial is a favourite drink amongst children. Sadly, the flavourings used to make it are often created in a laboratory, but you can also make the cordial at home yourself, ideally as an activity to share with your children. You can start your cordialmaking journey around the end of May – when elderberry begins to blossom – by venturing out into the open and picking elderflowers together. Once that’s done, it’s off to the kitchen.
You will need:
10–15 blossom umbels (look out for insects, but don’t rinse the umbels)
2 small organic lemons
500 g sugar
1 litre water
To make the cordial:
Squeeze the juice from the lemons and cut them into slices. Boil the water with the sugar, remove from the cooker and add the lemon juice along with the lemon slices. Allow to cool. Then add the blossom umbels, cover with a tea towel and leave to stand for two days at room temperature. Once the flavour has infused into the cordial, strain it through a tea towel (let the flowers and lemon slices drain themselves – don’t crush them).
There are now two ways to continue. The traditional method would be to add citric acid in order to preserve the cordial. Take 20 g citric acid, add to the cordial and bring to a boil. Then pour the cordial into clean bottles with rubber seals. Seal the bottles to finish.
However, because I like my cordial with as few preservatives as possible, I came up with an alternative solution a few years ago. I boil the cordial again for a short amount of time and then fill the bottles while still hot. To do this I take small bottles with a volume of around 200 ml with swing tops and rubber seals. After filling them up and sealing them, I then sterilise them in the steam cooker. This way, they will Keep for a good nine months to a year. Once the bottle has been opened, it must be kept in the fridge and the cordial must be used up quickly. However, as the bottles as so small – and children are always thirsty – this is never a problem.