Flaxen Hare


Grandma’s Elderflower Cordial

(read Harriet Hare's story here)


Back in the kitchen Grandma gets out the other ingredients to go with the:

20 Elderflower heads without the long stalks. Only use lovely fresh flowers that are fully open but not going over their best.

2½ Kilos white sugar

2 Lemons

85g Citric Acid. (Grandma bought this from the chemist)


First Grandma and Harriet Hare measure out 1½ litres of water and put this into a large saucepan. They weighed out the 2½ kilos of sugar and add this to the water in the saucepan This was gently heated until all the sugar had dissolved. Carefully Harriet stirred it every now and then while Grandma took the peel off the lemons, this is called the zest,  and sliced them into rounds.


Once the sugar had dissolved Grandma let the syrup boil. She then turned off the heat. Meanwhile Harriet was washing the flowers to clean them. She lifted them out and shook them to get rid of most of the water. Harriet thought this such fun.

These were then put into the syrup along with the lemon rounds, the zest and the citric acid. Harriet stirred it all up well. The pan was then covered and left for 24 hours.


The next day Grandma lined a colander with a clean tea towel and sat it over a large bowl. Harriet ladled the syrup into the colander and watched while it slowly dripped through the tea towel. When all the syrup had dripped through, the tea towel with all the bits in it was carefully taken away.


Grandma had washed some glass bottles well and was letting them dry in a low oven so they would be sterilised. They filled the bottles with the syrup, using a funnel. Harriet ladled the syrup into the funnel. She liked doing this.


The Elderflower cordial was ready to drink straight away. Grandma added some cordial to a glass and topped it up with water and some ice cubes. It had a very distinctive taste but really delicious.


The cordial can be kept in the fridge for up to 6 weeks. Grandma put some in the fridge and she put more bottles into the freezer to use later in the year.


Elderflower cordial is delicious in puddings and goes particularly well with gooseberries but also apples and other fruit puddings. Just drizzle the cordial over the fruit before cooking.

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