Elderflower Concentrate recipe, so summery

Diluted elderflower cordial is wonderfully summery drink to have in a drink bottle when running or cycling. Water with a small amount of carbohydrate (i.e. sugar) is more readily absorbed by the stomach wall compared to plain water (that can ‘flush’ through the system). This means a carb solution hydrates you better with less rushing to the loo; very handy on long bike rides. This is how Powerade can advertise that it hydrates better than water. Anything with a wee bit of sugar will!

There’s the last of the elderflowers out over the next week, so go for a wander and pick some if you’re keen to try this. Pick freshly opened flowers early in the morning, away from road pollution. You’ll need 10 – 20 heads, and make sure they don’t get squashed on the way home. Leave some flowers on the trees for the bees and other folk.

elderflower cordial

In the kitchen, cut off any big stalks and toss flower heads in a big bowl or pot. Cover with 1kg sugar, and 1 Litre of hot water (not boiling as this may scald the flavour, around 80 degrees C). Gently stir in sliced ribbons of rind from an unwaxed lemon and the flesh chopped into slices. Cover and leave for 24 hours, stir occasionally, ensuring the sugar gets fully dissolved. After a few hours your kitchen will smell very floral.

The next day strain the mixture into a large jug. I used a strainer, then discovered some black bits so put it through a muslin as well. Adjust concentrate to taste. Store in sterilised bottles in the fridge. You can also freeze some in plastic water bottles.

To sterilize bottles place in a 180 degrees C oven for ten minutes, allow to cool slightly before bottling.

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