Permaculture Blog

Elderflower Cordial

I think we can say that summer has officially started now the elderflowers are in full bloom. The elder is one of Britians native trees and the elderflower it produces has many uses, including making a refreshing summer cordial. 

Elderflower will take a couple of days to infuse however it’s really easy to make and worth the wait. The flowers are blooming now (early June) so you need to get out there quick, though if you do happen to miss them you’ll be able to reap the rewards of the berries at the end of the summer. If you are picking elderflowers now do remember to leave some as even if you are not planning to eat the berries later in the season, the birds will.

Photograph by Sarah Davenport

Also, if you don’t have the time to make elderflower cordial, or just don't want too much sugar, the flowers can be used on their own in a tea or infused in a vinegar for salads. Elderflower cordial can also be used to add flavour to white wine or paired with soda water for a refreshing sparkling summers drink.   

What you will need:

A clean saucepan
Clean bottles
Sieve or muslin cloth


25 elderflower heads
2 1/2 pints of boiling water (1.2 litres)
2-31/2 lbs of sugar (900g-1500g, depending on how sweet you like your cordial)
2 large squeezed lemons
Zest of 2 large lemons


You also can try mixinng in your own flavours, for example some fresh rosemary and orange.

Photograph by Sarah Davenport


1. Remove most of the stalks and any insects from the elderflower heads

2. Bring the water to the boil and add the sugar and stir to dissolve

3. Remove from the heat

4. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice

5. Add in the elderflower heads

6. Leave to infuse for 2-3 days

7. Bottle up and keep in the fridge or freezer*

*You can also freeze the cordial, just make sure you leave room in the bottle as it will expand in the freezer



Tags: permaculture blog , elderflower, recipe, cordial, harvest, obtain a yield