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May 30th, 2011



Elderflower cordial 

I realised today when I got an email from Typepad to update my billing details that I had been religiously paying my monthly payment for the blog while heathenishly neglecting to post anything much for the past two years. So I'm going to give myself another couple of months to decide if I'm going to keep it up. Nothing much has changed, I'm still  baking to keep the roof over my head. My little one is far from little anymore and I've spent most of my spare time pottering around the apartment and balcony/garden.















I've had the photos of the elderflower cordial since last year and there's no better time to post these recipes while the roadsides are fragrant with the blossoms. They'll be gone within the next couple of weeks so do get out picking sooner rather than later. There are dozens of recipes for elderflower cordial and after trying a few this one is my favourite. It comes from The Scented Kitchen by Frances Bissell which I pull out every year at this time to make as much use of my limited herbal and  floral bounty as possible. The Rhubarb and Elderflower Jam comes from Edible Wild Plants and Herbs  by Pamela Michael which I would recommend just for the beautiful illustrations.

If possible pick the flowers on a sunny day (yes I do realise I live in Ireland) and get home as soon as possible to make the cordial to get the maximium perfumed flavour as possible.

UPDATE: If  you have long stretches of hedgerow at your disposal Kieran recently posted a recipe for Elderflower Champagne Sorbet which was a sellout at their tent at  Bloom  this weekend. The recipe includes a link to an Elderflower Champagne recipe.


Rhubarb & elderflower jam


  • 1kg granulated sugar
  • 1 litre water
  • 15 large elderflower heads
  • 2 oranges, thinly sliced
  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • 2 limes, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 teaspoons tartaric (citric) acid available from chemists
  1. Put the sugar and water in a saucepan, dissolve the sugar and bring to the boil. Shake the flower heads thoroughly and remove the stalks. Drop the elderflowers into the water and return to the boil.
  2. Meanwhile, put the sliced citrus fruits in a bowl or large jug with the tartaric acid, take the syrup and elderflowers off the heat and pour them over the citrus fruit.
  3. Stir well, cover loosely and leave for 24 hours before sieving and bottling in sterilised bottles. Keep for 2 to 3 months or longer if refrigerated.

Makes approx. 1 litre.



This recipe may seem longwinded but the long steeping means a shorter boiling time resulting in a wonderful flavour with a fresh pink colour.

  • 6 large elderflowers
  • 1.5 kg rhubarb
  • 1.5kg granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon
  1. Cut the thickest stalks fron the elderflowers and tie them in a square of muslin, put the bag in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. String and cut the rhubarb into short lengths and pile them on top of the elderflowers. Sprinkle the sugar over the rhubarb and cover the bowl tightly with foil or a weighted plate.
  2. Leave for 12 hours, then stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon, cover as before and leave for a further 12 hours.
  3. Put the contents of the bowl into a large saucepan, heat gently and stir to dissolve the sugar, but do not allow to boil. Cool a little and then return to the bowl for a further 12 hours.
  4. Take out the bag of elderflowers and tip the rhubarb into a saucepan again, add the straine juice of the lemon, bring slowly to the boil and stir, then boil rapidly in the open pan for 7-10 minutes until the jam wrinkles and shows signs of setting when dripprd onto a cold plate.
  5. Pour into warm, sterilised jam jars, cover with waxed circles while hot and with lids once cool.

Makes approx. 2kg jam.

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