Elderflower cordial (and Camden tablets??)

05/16/2012 - 09:01

With the elderflowers in full bloom, I have been out picking this morning and have my first batch of cordial "brewing"....it is so refreshing on hot summer days, so thought others might like to try...collect about 35 flower heads - preferably the ones that look almost "buttery", but not those already losing flowers if you shake them.Once home, rinse them gently in cold water to make sure no insects are on them. Meanwhile, dissolve 1.5 kilos of sugar in 1.5 litres of boiling water and leave to cool,,,,in a sterilized bucket, large jug, bowl whatever. (If you can't put the receptacle in a hot oven / microwave, then fill with water and a spoonful of bleach, leave for 5-10 min then rinse well).After that, add the flowers plus 2 oranges and 2 lemons - all cut up roughly and squeezed a bit as you put them into the bucket. Give it all a good stir, then cover with a clean cloth and leave for 72 hrs. At that point, strain the water through a sieve lined with muslin or another "thin" fabric (scald it with boiling water first). Add 50-60 g of citric acid (you can buy this easily anywhere locals might go to get the stuff they need for wine-making) stir again and leave for 24 hrs. Sieve again - or better still siphon off and bottle. Glass bottles are by far the best, treat like jam jars to sterilize. The closed bottles will last for at least 6 months, although you should check from time to time to see if they have started to bubble a bit, in which case open (over a sink or bath...it really can POP) to let the gas escape and close again. Once open, keep in fridge. To drink, use like squash....also nice drizzled over ice-cream, fruit salad etc, and even to make a vinaigrette.As to the camden tablet???? Anyone know what they are called here... If I could find them, using one tablet per gallon of liquid (when adding the citric acid) means that the cordial will last more or less indefinitely.This year am also going to try an elderflower liqueur...someone gave me the recipe.Snip 15-20 flowers into a large-ish mason jar or similar, cover with vodka and leave in cool dark place for at least 1 month. Strain, return to jar and add 1/2 cup of sugar. Continue to keep it in a dark cool place, but give the jar a shake every day. Once the sugar has dissolved - apparently it is ready to drink!Last year I also made elderflower champagne...the locals thought it quite bizzare...but were also quite impressed!! Great fun.


Sounds good Sabina.  No idea, I'm afraid, what they call them in Italy - or if they use this sodium or potassium metabisulphite but I see that if you put Campden tablets into ebay UK there are a lot of sellers and they seem to post to the EU.  This is the first one which came up.  The Cntrl click does not seem to work but you can copy the link and paste it into your browser.  50 tablets would keep you busy in wine etc brewing for a while! http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Youngs-campden-tablets-pack-50-camden-tablets-/180798482996?pt=Home_Brew&hash=item2a186dea34#shId  

I used to love Elderflower Champagne, my old Nonna used to make it (seem to recall Ginger somewhere in the recipe) would love to make some but haven't found a recipe until now will give it a go..

In reply to by Flip

Last year's recipe that worked out really well... again - everything needs to be sterilised...glass etc washed and then heated in the oven like jam jars - and if you use plastic bottles at the end, soak  in water with a bit of bleach in and then rinse well.   pick approx 35 flowers... dissolve 2.5 kg of sugar in 5 litres of boiling water, leave to cool a bit, then add 2 more litres of cold water,  plus the flowers, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, juice and zest of 5 lemons and 1 orange (but expect you could substitute the orange for some grated ginger).  Leave it in a bucket covered with a clean cloth for 2 days - it should start bubbling a bit - but if not, add a pinch of dry baking (bread yeast). Give it a good stir, then leave, covered for another 4-5 days. Strain off through muslin  then leave to settle for a few hours or overnight (you'll get a lot of sediment sink to the bottom) then siphone off and put into bottles. Ready to drink after 1 week. If you use plastic bottles do keep an eye on them - and if they start bulging let the gas out...last year, the first bottle I did that to practically exploded and the "champers" flew up and hit the ceiling - would have been great on an F1 victory podium!  I realised it was better not to fill bottles right up to the top - and to open them up every so often anyway.  Even so - 6 months later it was all still fizzy! It has a very "fruity" flavour...and in fact I used a bit less sugar than the recipe called for, and it was not overly sweet...if I made it again I might even use a bit less 2kg or just under. It was very popular...but quite potent - so be warned!