Autumn: Elderberry cordial
- Ripe Elderberries
- Granulated sugar
- Cinnamon / cloves / star anise / ginger to taste
Collect ripe bunches of elderberries and removed from their stems. Some people find it easiest to use a folk to pull them off the stems, I find it easiest to just gently pull multiple berries off with my fingers at a time.
Rinse the berries and place them in a pan. Pour in enough water to just cover them. At this point you can add a few cloves, star anise, ginger or cinnamon to create a more warming cordial. Bring slowly to the boil, reduce the temperature and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Use a potato masher to break up the berry skins and then strain.
Strain by pouring into a muslin bag and allowing to drain, when it’s cool enough use your hands to squeeze out the remaining juice. You can also allow it to strain overnight which means gravity does most of the work!
- Measure and sweeten
Measure the liquid obtained and then measure out the sugar. 700g sugar to 1 litre of juice. Lemon juice can also be added to help preserve the cordial (the juice of one lemon is approximately equal to a rounded teaspoonful of citric acid). Put the sugar and juice in a pan. Heat gently until all the sugar is dissolved and simmer for 5 minutes.
Pour the liquid into sterilized bottles and put the caps on making sure they are well sealed. Whenever I make Elderberry cordial I have used 200ml bottles and sterilise them by pouring boiling water to the top of each bottle, I empty the water when I am ready to decant the hot cordial in to the bottles (I soak the lids in boiling water too). This seems to work well and I have stored my cordial in cool, dark, dry place for well over one year without any issues. Once you open a bottle of cordial it is important to store in the fridge. As we don’t get through large amounts of cordial at a time I find 200ml bottles work well for us and it means we always have spares to hand.