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Recipe: Elderflower Cordial from the Elderflower Fields team

Nothing heralds summer like the scent of elderflowers. Here's a gorgeous cordial recipe from the team behind Elderflower Fields, Sussex's favourite family festival.

Hands up who would have been pitching up at Pippingford Park for Elderflower Fields family festival this weekend? *raises hand*

Well never fear, intrepid campers, because our favourite family festival will still be going ahead on September 11-13. But meanwhile, the team behind Elderflower Fields is bringing all the fun to us.

Make sure you sign up for the weekly guide to festival fun at home, bursting with activities and entertainment for the whole family.

And because the big picnic on the Sunday of the festival is always a hit, this year it’s still going ahead – at home. You make the picnic (all the info and some recipe suggestions here) and the Elderflower Fields team will bring a playlist, plus a load of activities and suggestions for everybody to enjoy.

So to kick you off by whetting your thirst – and then quenching it – here’s a gorgeous recipe for Elderflower Cordial (what else) from festival director Maria. This is her own family recipe she’s been making since she was a girl, but we’ve wrestled (well, more like sweet talked) it off her so you can all enjoy it. It’s perfect with still or sparkling water, great to use in cooking or to freeze down for ice lollies, and you can even mix it with your favourite tipple to make a cheeky floral cocktail.

Elderflower Cordial recipe

25 – 30 flower heads

2 lemons (washed and sliced)

50 g citric acid (available from most pharmacists)

2 litre water

2 kg sugar (yes, lots of sugar I’m afraid and a bit tricky to get hold of at the moment. You can use less sugar, about 1.5 kg instead of 2 kg, if you freeze the cordial rather than bottle it)


Pick the elderflower away from busy roads, preferably on a sunny day. Wash the flower heads (I don’t actually do this, instead I shake them to free little bugs).

Put all the flowers in a large tub or bowl or whatever you have available. Bring the water to the boil in a large saucepan and add the sugar. Stir until it is fully dissolved and add the citric acid, stir again. Pour the hot water over the flowers and add the sliced lemons. Give it all a stir.

Cover and leave out to cool down and then place it somewhere cool (I usually keep it in the fridge). After two days remove all the lemons and leave for another four days. Strain through a muslin cloth and freeze in tubs or pour into clean sterilised bottles. Dilute as normal cordial when ready to use.

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