Elderflower Cordial recipe - Now or Never

Production is fully underway at PI HQ with the annual elderflower cordial making jamboree.  Teams of enthusiastic foragers have been out over the past 2 weekends gathering flower heads and we are pleased to report that the heads are unusually large this year - like floral umbrellas specifically to deal with all this rain!  We have picked in Wimbledon, Ham, Barnes, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham - a truly London wide brew.

 Our recipe is as follows:

20 heads of elderflower
1.8 kg granulated sugar, or caster sugar
1.2 litres water
2 unwaxed lemons
75 g citric acid

1. Shake the elderflowers to expel any lingering insects, and then place in a large bowl. (Don't be tempted to wash the heads).

2. Put the sugar into a pan with the water and bring up to the boil, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved.

3. While the sugar syrup is heating, pare the zest of the lemons off in wide strips and toss into the bowl with the elderflowers. Slice the lemons, discard the ends, and add the slices to the bowl. Pour over the boiling syrup, and then stir in the citric acid. Cover with a clean cloth and then leave at room temperature for 24 hours.

4. Next day, strain the cordial through a sieve lined with muslin and pour intosterilised glass or plastic bottles. Screw on the lids and pop into the fridge ready to use.

A few picking tips:

 Pick high (dogs), pick away from roads (cars), pick in the sunshine (a more fragrant cordial results), pick before midday (ditto), don't pick in the rain (wet heads have a diiferent chemical make up).

Do experiment - orange is a good substitute for some of the lemon, lemon verbena adds a really delicious note, mint is interesting, try less sugar if you plan to drink it up sharpish.