By a happy coincidence last year I happened to have a lot of strawberries which were close to being on the turn, just as the elderflowers came out in the hedgerows. I thought the strawberries might make an interesting addition to my cordial, so I crushed them lightly and added them to the hot syrup at the same time as the elderflower heads. It was absolutely delicious, and unsurprisingly turned it a beautiful colour. I think the strawberries help to cut through the syrupy sweetness of it, and whilst it’s lovely with ice and still/fizzy water, it really comes into its own with gin – try adding a splash to your next gin and tonic, with a squeeze of lime and lots of ice. It’s not bad in prosecco either…
Strawberry & Elderflower Cordial
- 1kg caster sugar
- 750ml water
- 2 lemons – pared skin and slices
- 10 elderflower heads
- 40g citric acid
- 450g fresh strawberries, crushed
- Bring the sugar and water to the boil in a large saucepan, then remove from heat as soon as it’s boiled – don’t let it boil away for long or you’ll lose too much water.
- Once it’s off the heat whisk in the citric acid, then add the lemon peel, lemon slices, flowers and strawberries. Cover with a lid, and let it steep at room temperature for 24 hours.
- Strain the syrup through a piece of muslin (or a clean cotton tea towel if you don’t have muslin) and bottle it. I keep mine in the fridge because despite my best efforts to sterilise my bottles, a previous batch went fizzy – clearly I have a lot yet to learn in the bottle sterilising department! Try to use it within two to three months, but I confess I’ve still got a little from last year in the fridge, and it’s absolutely fine.