Seasonal Rituals // Elderflower cordial…

Elderflower cordial recipe

June, the hedgerows are in bloom.  White fluffy flowers adorn the bushes, and the air is thick with pollen.  I suffer with hay fever at this time of year, it is those pretty Elderflower blooms polluting the air.  I try to just muddle on, sneezing, and dealing with it without drugging myself with anti-histamines, so far so good.  But some days are worse than others.

I read somewhere that by making and drinking Elderflower Cordial at this time of year, helps reduce the effects of hay fever.  So keen to give this a try, yesterday evening we took a solstice eve walk in the nearby lanes to forage for some flowers.

Lou Archell Canon Elderflower June 2016-10

This year Charlie was the most keen to forage and make the cordial, as last year he and his school friends couldn’t get enough of the stuff. I think he is planning on selling his bottles in the school playground! I love it now that they are old enough to help and really get stuck into the forage.  All the fun in the hunt for the Elder bush, and getting Dan with his long arms to reach up to pull down stems to cut.

Lou Archell Canon Elderflower June 2016-9

Lou Archell Canon Elderflower June 2016-7 Lou Archell Canon Elderflower June 2016-4

Lou Archell Canon Elderflower June 2016-5

Back home, I set to making the cordial, using the same recipe from last year. Charlie is already planning our next trip out to pick more. He wants to freeze a load too! I’m sure he will be getting us all on an Elderflower cordial production line if he could!

Lou Archell Canon Elderflower June 2016-8

Elderflower Cordial – makes 4 litres


  • 15 Elderflower heads (unwashed – it’s the pollen on the flowers that gives the cordial it’s taste)
  • 4 litres of boiling water
  • 4 unwaxed lemons (zest & juice of)
  • 750g of sugar
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar



  • Pick over the flower heads, removing any bugs. Snip off the flowers, leaving as much of the stalks behind.
  • Mix the sugar to the boiling water and allow it to dissolve.
  • Add the flowers to a bowl with the lemon zest, vinegar and boiling sugar water to prevent the blooms from browning.
  • Juice the lemons and add these to the bowl.  Mix well.
  • Cover with a clean tea towel and leave over night to absorb the flavours
  • The following day, strain the liquid with a muslin into clean bottles and store.
  • You can freeze some in small plastic bottles and defrost as and when needed.
  • The cordial needs diluting in water to drink.


  • What I really like about this post, and what sets it apart from other elderflower seasonal recipes for me, is the lovely personal detail. The hay fever inspiration, the flower-picking date, the complaints of a ‘leafy’ taste. Really made me smile! x

    • Bless you Sara! Thank you so much for you kind comment. Rufus still doesn’t drink it :(. And no, it didn’t help my hayfever!

  • I would recommend not to put the blossom in boiling water, because that will give you the leafy taste. Just put 50 blossoms or so in 4 liters cold water with the lemon juice and peel for 12 to 24 hours. Then strain through a tea towel, add the sugar and bring to boil for 2 minutes, stirring all the time. Pour into bottles, cover and leave to cool. Enjoy!

  • Mmm, the taste of summer, and childhood! I’m a hay fever sufferer too – try putting a little vaseline/lip balm round the edge of your nostrils to trap pollen particles before they get in to your system, and eat local honey!

  • Eating local honey, produced in your area also also helps with hayfever. It desensitises you to the effects of pollen. Hope you don’t suffer too much this summer. Bee xx

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