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36 responses to “Elderflower Cordial”

  1. Lynn

    I love the idea of Holly’s “Elder-tini”, not to mention adding the syrup to sparkling wine. May just have to go picking this weekend and try this! Just recently picked up a bottle of citric acid at Whole Foods thinking it’d come in handy soon ;-)

  2. semiswede

    You are sooo far ahead of Sweden. There isn’t even a hint of elderflowers here yet. But your post is getting me excited about them already. Fortunately when they do arrive I am surrounded by them, even in my urban neighborhood. Elderflower cordial is really popular in Sweden. It’s so easy to make but not a lot of people do it themselves anymore. You can buy ready-made cordial in any market. All the more flowers for me! I learned from an internet friend that cordial can also be made from lilacs using the same process. Have you ever tried that? I might give it a go this year.

  3. OregonCoastGardener

    Elderberries are in bloom on the Oregon coast (at least here on the central part) so this post has me thinking… might have to head out for some foraging soon.

    One of my pet peeves doing landscape work is how often clients want us to remove those “weedy” elderberries. Drives me crazy! How can you not appreciate this beautiful plant — leaves, flowers, berries– that requires no care to thrive?

  4. Jerimiah

    I noticed the picture is of a different type of elderberry than we have here in the Puget Sound. Will Red Elderberry flowers work as well? I know the red berries are not as edible as blue (they have to be thoroughly cooked and don’t taste very good), but I’m curious about the flowers.

  5. Karen

    oh, yum….I know St. Germain – which I love – is made with elderflowers, and so is Absolut Boston (Absolut infused with black tea and elderflowers). Love the idea of making it for myself !

  6. Reliz

    I tried to infuse some homemade vodka (yes I have a still but hey this post is anonymous!) with lupin and it didn’t turn out very great. After reading Hanks post I think I use WAY too few lupin. I used roughly a handful for an entire 750ml bottle of 100 proof vodka. I was trying in vain to preserve that incredible spring fragrance of a field of lupin. I got good and drunk but there wasn’t much lupin on my breath. I’m going to try again with massively more flowers and see what happens. Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time

    I had meant to post when this first came out but this and that happened and I didn’t get to it (yeah, I have a five year-old). So, I’m back today. I was very intrigued by this home made version since I’m a huge fan of St. Germain. That stuff is so stinkin’ expensive, I’m thinking that the flowers they gather in the Alps must be something way more unique than the ones that you find here? Is the flavor comparable?

  8. Liz

    Can I substitute crushed Vitamin C tablets (ascorbic acid) for the citric acid?

    I use crushed Vit C tablets in the water dip prior to dehydrating foods to act as a flavor & color preservative. It’s so much cheaper to buy plain Vit C tablets when they’re on sale because I don’t need to use very much for dehydrating and I don’t have to keep an extra product on my shelf.

  9. wendy

    Hank – how would you turn this into jelly? Is it feasible?

  10. ingridyant

    Just found some elderflowers in Italy (“Fiori di Sambucco”) along a roadside, do you think washing them would rinse out their essence? Fortunately citric acid is sold in regular grocery stores here, with so many people doing infusions at home, looking forward to trying your recipe, thanks!

  11. ELDERFLOWER SYRUP » The Year In Food

    […] everywhere! – just make sure to know the tree you’re looking for. Apparently it’s easily confused with poisonous hemlock. Both plants grow near water, though the flowers of the hemlock are shocking white, unlike the […]

  12. Jenny Lee Fowler

    I’ve got a batch of your recipe on the table. Thanks so much! Whats the recipe for the Absolut Boston?

  13. Marsha

    Hi Hank,
    Here in Germany, our Elderflowers (Holunderblüten) are just now ready and I want to try your syrup. Question, when you say to remove the stems, how much is OK? Would you leave a composite flowerhead like the one in the photo whole, or snip it into its single blooms to remove the small stems. Can’t wait to try it!

  14. Carol Norwell

    have made the cordial for the last few years…we live in France and you cant buy Elderflower cordial here…this year I am making the liqueur…have two mason jars..over 2 litres in the process…very excited…!

  15. Angie

    Just a response about the red elderberry bushes. Our cooperative extension here highly recommends that you DO NOT consume them as they can be quite toxic.

  16. Herb Walk – late spring, early summer – part one

    […] the syrup for storage, though. It loses much of its aroma. So I was very excited when l read this recipe by Hank Shaw of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. No heating necessary as the syrup is stored in the […]

  17. David Pierre-Louis

    I am in seattle and looking for the Elder Flower Heads! Can any one help point me in the direction where I can get them.

    I need it really Bad!

  18. Cam

    Now I know what to do with the elderberry bushes we planted. Can you also use the berries to make a cordial or only the flowers? Thanks!

  19. Elder-Flower Fritters | Art and Bees Bees and Art

    […] 2 tablespoons elderflower cordial […]

  20. Russ Cohen

    Hi Hank – I particularly appreciated this section of your posting, which encourages people to not hammer the elder bushes they are gathering blossoms from:

    “A good rule to live by is to not take more than a few flower heads from each elderberry bush: This ensures that the bush will have enough to spread itself, it makes you find more bushes — it’s never a good thing to have only one spot for anything you forage for — and, most importantly, selective picking means you can come back in a few months for the berries.”

    While, like you, I do see quite a few elder shrubs in my area (around Boston), I am concerned that the burgeoning popularity of elderflowers might cause ecological damage to these plants and the oranisms dependent upon them. This native species (Sambucus canadensis) serves an important ecological function; indeed, it is the only home for an unusual species of beetle here n Massachusetts, the Elderberry Long-horned Beetle.

    While I am not that worried about people gathering a few Elder flower clusters for their own use, I am worried about the adverse impacts of large-scale commercial gathering. I am not aware that this is happening yet (at least in this region), but I will be on the lookout for it.

    My advice to anyone who wants to gather elder flowers on a large-scale basis: Please consider convincing a local farm to put in some elderberry bushes, or grow them yourself – that way you won’t need to hammer the wild populations.

    Thanks for considering this suggestion.

  21. Kimberly

    Thank u so much for this post!

    One question: If I’m just making simple syrup (no citrus), do I cover it and do I leave it at room temp or in the fridge?


  22. Introducing Milk, Elderflower Syrup and (Soy) Yogurt Cake | Dairy-Free Switzerland

    […] recipes for elderflower syrup call for citric acid, which acts as a preservative. Instead, I found a quick recipe without citric acid, which means we’ll need to use it before it starts to ferment! After my […]

  23. Hand-picked in Southern California | Tartines to Tikis

    […] Hank Shaw’s article on elderflower cordial […]

  24. tink

    You can actually make a simple elderflower wine by covering the flowers in water, adding sugar, covering and leaving in a cool dark place for a couple of weeks. It’s excellent added to soda water.

  25. Friday Favorites :: May 4, 2012 | Homespun Seasonal Living

    […] One of these days/years I’m going to make some elderflower cordial […]

  26. Tijana

    Unfortunately I don’t have access to fresh elderflowers where I am, can I use dried, and if so how much would be needed? I am guessing 1 cup? Thanks!

  27. pam mielke

    In years past I have used the berries to make jelly and wine. I never knew how awesome the flowers could be. I was able to collect enough blossoms to make two quarts of cordial. It is steeping as I write this post. Is there a way to process or preserve the elderberry cordial, besides just keeping it in the fridge? I would like to give it as gifts through out the year.

  28. Fiona

    Thanks for your recipes, posts and great dialog generated on Elderflower cordial. I’m a huge fan of this under-appreciated drink (in the US only) and it’s on my bucket-list to make some in Spring.

    Could you please let me know where specifically I can find wild bushes in Northern CA, and wonder if you’d share a couple of places you know they exist so I can make a picking trip? (I live near Concord and haven’t seen them – or at least don’t trust my judgement to know I’d be picking the right thing). Thanks very much in advance -

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