Walking our two dogs Bramble and Jasper makes it easy to be up to date with nature affairs. First bluebells, lily of the valley, foxgloves… nothing comes up unnoticed.

For the past couple of weeks our eyes have been fixed on elder trees in hope their blossom will provide the first opportunity for forage cooking.

Harvesting of elderflowers is a great activity for all the family. You are surrounded by the comforting colours of spring, sounds of nesting birds and the overwhelming explosion of the awaken nature.

And then, there is a promise of happy family gatherings and al fresco dinning accompanied by hedgerow pressé, pannacotta or jelly – all based on our fragrant elderflower cordial.


  • 30 large elderflower heads
  • 6 unwaxed lemons (zest removed with a potato peeler and then cut into rounds)
  • 5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1.5kg granulated white sugar
  • 1.5lt boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon citric acid



Place the flower heads, lemons (zest and rounds), sugar and citric acid into a large bowl or bucket. Pour over boiling water and stir until sugar is dissolved. Cover and leave to infuse for 24 hours.

Strain through muslin or clean J-coth and pour into sterilised strong glass or plastic bottles with a good stopper or screw lid .  Keep for up to 4 weeks ion the fridge.


Chef’s tip:

Elderflowers are best picked up on a warm, dry day when the tiny flower buds have just come to bloom.

Don’t be shy with lemon juice. The addition of citric acid preserves the cordial and introduces some sharpness.

Be aware that cordial has a tendency to ferment so do open with care!

Serve with cold fizzy water, sparkling wine or for a slightly less traditional twist mix with gin and tonic!