Searching for Elderflowers…


I’m feeling a bit ridiculous as I write this post. A couple of weeks ago I read and commented on a post by Caroline at Bibliocookwhere I mentioned that the only Elderflower trees I had seen growing were in other peoples gardens.

I mentioned this to my dad who, while sitting at my kitchen table pointed out my patio door and said “There’s a huge one there.” and there it was. Not in our garden but the other side of my father-in-law’s shed, just at the side of his cattle crush!

After lunch, the kids and I went out armed with a bag to gather a few flower heads to try out an Elderflower Cordial recipe that I’d seen. We didn’t get as many as we’d hoped though because to pick the flowers off that tree you’d need to be about 8 foot tall! We did however take a walk up his field (which is right at the back of our house – just the other side of our garden fence) and we “found” loads of trees all along the ditch. All guarded by nettles and electric fencing, we did our very best and had great fun trying not to get stung/shocked!

We also noticed MILLIONS of blackberry bushes growing wild so we are VERY excited about those. In our minds we have already turned it into jam!

It’s going to be a good summer!

P.S. If you fancy trying your hand at this Elderflower Cordial, I’d suggest you do it SOON as there are not too many flowers left on the trees (I left it very late to post this didn’t I?!)

Elderflower Cordial

(recipe by Sophie Grigson from the UKTV website)

What you need:

20 Elderflower heads

1.8kg Sugar (granulated or caster)

1.2l water

2 unwaxed lemons

75g citric acid*


Shake the flower heads gently to remove any insects and place in a large bowl.

Put the sugar in a pan with the water and bring to the boil.

Stir until sugar is completely dissolved.

While the sugar syrup is heating, pare the zest of the lemons off in wide strips and toss into the bowl with the elderflowers.

Slice the lemons and discard the ends.

Add the slices to the bowl, pour over the boiling syrup and stir in the citric acid.

Cover with a cloth and leave at room temperature for 24 hours.

Next day, strain through a sieve lined with a muslin cloth and pour into thoroughly cleaned glass or plastic bottles.

Screw on the lids and store in a cupboard until needed.

*citric acid is available from most pharmacies. You will have to ask for it though as it’s not on the shelves. Apparently, drug users erm, use it (I don’t know what for, nor do I want to…) I enquired about it in Boots – the girl went off to ask another member of staff where I heard them whispering about it and looking at me in a very strange way. I was then told that they could order it in for me. When I went to another (smaller) pharmacy they had it behind the counter…


  1. Sharon Ní Chonchúir says:

    Your elderflowers look so lovely. I went picking some to make cordial yesterday (having left it really, really, REALLY) late and a lot of the flowers had already gone to seed. I still found some useable ones though and can’t wait to sample my first batch!

  2. Breige says:

    Ooh, what great finds! Elderflowers and blackberries! My Dad recently told me there’s raspberries in one of our gardens but unfortunately the birds had gotten to most of them 🙁 Oh well, at least I’ll know for next year! There’s also blackberries, blackcurrants and apples around there, pity the grass is so long!

  3. Colette says:

    Might be a bit late for me to try to find the flowers at this stage, but a lovely recipe all the same. Funny how the elderflowers were right there in front of you. I’d be exactly the same. Lovely recipe and pictures.

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