Elderflower Syrup

Last year I wanted to make some elderflower cordial but after a series of rainy days, lack of time and effort I didn’t get round to it. This year I wasn’t going to let it escape me but I wanted to make something a bit more punchy. Elderflower syrup seemed like a great idea to me but I had no idea where to start; then I remembered a beautiful violet syrup I had seen over on Karen’s blog Lavender and Lovage. The recipe seemed simple and straightforward so I donned my cycling attire (no Lycra thank you very much) and went off in search of elderflowers.
elderflower syrup

As you may be aware I love a good forage; you never know what you might find. One thing you will inevitably end up with on or in your foraged goods are little critters and bugs. I’m not sure if you can eat them but it’s probably best to try and remove them. You don’t want a sea of grimacing faces when you pour them out a little beetle. I find shaking your booty (don’t confuse with bootie)* outside to get most of them off works well. To be extra stringent I then give it all another shake and wobble in a sieve; I want the assurance that it is indeed a strawberry seed in the finished dish giving that unusual texture rather than an exoskeleton.

elderflower syrup

You will need (thank you to Karen for the recipe):
3 handfuls elderflowers
150ml boiling water
280g caster sugar

elderflower syrup

Remove the elderflowers from the stems and put them into a bowl. Pour over the boiling water, give it all a stir and then leave overnight to infuse. 
The next day put a pan of water on to boil which you can put a bowl on top of; double boiler style. Put the elderflowers and their steeping water into this bowl with the sugar and place on top of the boiling water. Mix the flowers and sugar together over the boiling water until the sugar has dissolved completely. 
Sieve the syrup into a sterilised container. I’m keeping mine in the fridge to try and retain some of the freshness and I plan to use it pretty quickly!

elderflower syrup

I was surprised at the, shall we say, toast colour of the final syrup. Perhaps I included a few too many brown flowers in the thought that it won’t make any difference. It looks a bit like a dark rapeseed oil. Attractive colour aside it tastes incredible. It has the earthy elderflower flavour and aroma that you only get from fresh flowers. It doesn’t smell of much but a quick taste and you’re instantly in the midst of summer. The next few blog posts will be about what I’m cooking up with the syrup.
*I say don’t confuse booty with bootie but if you are planning to partake in a new form of exercise comprising foraging and dancing, or foracing as I have donned it, be my guest.


  1. says

    So pleased that you were inspired to make some lush elderflower cordial based on my recipe and the colour DOES vary, so nothing wrong there! Looks great Caroline, and such pretty photos too. Karen

  2. says

    I find the colour does vary. Elderflower oxidises easily so a smaller diameter bowl exposing less of the flowers to the surface, may help to keep it pale. I might give this a go tomorrow; sounds like it might be a useful addition to a G&T

  3. says

    I have been trying to get a hand on the flowers but so far couldn’t find them. I guess I have to go the city and search in a upper class supermarket.

    I have tasted elder flower drink and I simply love it. Unless I find the flower, I just have be contented reading and seeing your post related to it.

  4. says

    I’m surprised to hear that it didn’t have much smell. One of the things that puts me off liking Elderflower cordial etc is its smell.
    Presumably this technique would work with any strong-flavoured edible flowers, so why not try it with Dog Roses (foraged, of course)?

  5. says

    i’m curious as how they taste like as i’ve not seen elderflowers before..but the flowers look pretty! will see what are you going to make with the syrup , hv a nice week !

  6. says

    So now all I can think about is the elderflower liquor that I tried at the good food show in Sydney. I am not exactly sure where I would locate elderflower but I will be on the look out now! Perhaps a florist?


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