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  • Emma Crawford

Elderflower and Lavender Cordial

I love elderflower, I always have. The elderflower season comes and goes in a flash but when the flowers open, they do so in abundance. Even if you don’t have elderflower in the garden, the hedgerows are teaming with them (although they should not be confused with cow parsley, twelve sprigs of which were presentedhopefully to my Mum by my Dad some years ago).

My boys (unlike their grandfather) are highly trained in all things elderflower. At the ages of five, five and three they spent a frantic week spotting elderflower in hedgerows whilst travelling up and down the A41 because my sister, ever true to the seasons, had requested homemade elderflower cordial for her 150 wedding guests at the very start of June. We managed it, the guests were very complimentary about the elderflower cordial with a hint of diesel fumes, and the boys have never forgotten the life skill. We regularly arrive home from the school run with laps full of the flowers and pollen all over their uniform.

This year I have been experimenting with using lavender in my (mum’s) elderflower cordial recipe, and have found that the two flavours complement each other really nicely. I have tried using lavender sugar (too subtle) and varying quantities of lavender soaked in with the elderflowers and have come up with what I (and the boys) think is the best blend.

Most lavender varieties can be used in cooking. At The Lavender Farm, we grow Lavandula AngustifoliaMailette for use as culinary lavender because it offers a sweet, slightly citrus taste that complements so many dishes and drinks. We currently have a small supply of dried culinary lavender from last year’s harvest but will be able to offer much more after this season’s Mailette has been cropped and dried. Please contact us through our website or social media accounts if you are interesting in buying some to try with this recipe (and other recipes to come)

Here is the recipe – I hope you enjoy it.

Elderflower and Lavender Cordial

12 sprigs of fresh elderflower

3 heaped teaspoons dried culinary lavender

1kg sugar

1teaspoon tartaric acid

1teaspoon citric acid

1. Soak the elderflowers (flowers down, stems up) and dried lavender in one litre of cold water for 24-36 hours.

2. Remove the elderflowers and strain the remaining liquid through a muslin into a saucepan (to remove any tiny elderflowers and the lavender buds)

3. Add the sugar, tartaric acid and citric acid to the saucepan and heat the mixture until all the sugar dissolves.

4. Cool and decant to clean bottles and store in the fridge.

5. Dilute the cordial with water in a 1:5 ratio (or 1:1 if you are a Crawford child serving himself).

I’ve no idea how long this keeps for – it’s generally all gone within 6 hours of hitting the fridge.

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