Foraging recipe: elderflower cordial

June is a fine time to go foraging for nature’s fare, so don’t miss this opportunity to scour the countryside for the perfect ingredients. Here is the first of two easy-to-make recipes that use commonly-found wild plants – ideal for the budding Bear Grylls.

Elder is extremely common across the UK and simple to spot growing in hedgerows, woods and even on waste ground. In June, the whole shrub is covered in sprays of creamy-white, sweet-smelling blossom.

Best picked on a sunny day (and away from traffic fumes), elderflowers are believed to have medicinal and healing properties. This refreshing, golden cordial is liquid summer in a bottle.

Ingredients (makes 1.5 litres of cordial)

20 heads of elderflower
1.8kg of granulated or caster sugar
1.2 litres of water
2 unwaxed lemons (grate the rind and slice the fruit)
75g citric acid


  1. Shake the elderflowers to get rid of any insects and place in a large bowl.
  2. Put the sugar in a pan with the water and bring to the boil, stirring to help it dissolve.
  3. When the syrup’s boiling, add the grated lemon rind, lemon slices, elderflower and citric acid. Cover with a cloth and leave at room temperature for 24 hours
  4. Next day, strain the liquid through a fine sieve and pour into clean bottles

The cordial is ready to dilute and drink straight away – try it with sparkling mineral water or add to Prosecco for a summer spritzer.