Friday, May 16, 2014

Flower Juice

We like to keep up our British traditions here in France and so in May and June we go off foraging the blossoms of the elder shrub to make elderflower cordial.

The children love walking around country lanes, snipping the large flowers heads into a basket to make what they call 'flower juice'.
Once harvested, the flowers of this rather ill thought of shrub ( some may say weed),can be infused in a sugar syrup that when combined with sparkling water, ice and a slice of lemon, makes the most refreshingly fragrant summer drink.
Replace the water with sparkling wine or champagne and you will have a classy do,  and I am told that it can be used in a vinaigrette dressing too.
I use Sophie Grigson's recipe which is tried and tested, keeps and freezes really well. Try to pick blooms away from roadsides and those which are in bloom but with no trace of brown.


  • 20 heads of elderflower
  • 1.8 kg granulated sugar
  • 1.2 litres water
  • 2 unwaxed lemons
  • 75 g citric acid


1. Shake the elderflowers to expel any little critters, and then place in a large bowl.

2. Put the sugar into a pan with the water and bring up to the boil, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved.

3. Add the zest of the lemons to the elderflowers. Slice the lemons, discard the ends, and add the slices to the bowl. Pour over the boiling syrup, and then stir in the citric acid. Cover with a cloth and then leave at room temperature for 24 hours.

4. Next day, strain the cordial through a sieve lined with muslin cloth ( or clean tea towel), squeezing out the last drops for maximum flavour. Pour into sterilized bottles. Screw on the lids and pop into the fridge. Use plastic bottles if freezing leaving a gap at the top for expansion.

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