Back in June I made elderflower cordial for the first time. It seemed to capture summer in a bottle.
Elderberry cordial which I have been making for years definitely tastes more of autumn and winter.
This is how I make it.
There are just three ingredients, elderberries, cloves and sugar.
I use about 20-30 clean dry elderberry heads. Shake to remove any insects, earwigs seem to hide in mine.
Remove the berries from the stalks using a fork. I wear kitchen gloves for this bit as elderberry juice is a dye and will stain fingers purple! The stalks and any unripened berries can be toxic so it is important to use ripe fruit and to take time over this stage.
Place in a large saucepan and just cover with water.
Bring the mixture to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for thirty minutes. I use a wooden spoon to squash the berries against the side of the pan to release as much juice as possible.
Strain the juice through a jelly bag.
To each pint of juice add one pound of sugar (454g) and 10 cloves. I obtained three quarters of a pint of juice so added 12 oz of sugar and eight cloves. Warm the mixture slowly, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat and boil the mixture for ten minutes.
The mixture can be allowed to cool and then poured into sterilised bottles or if like me you don't want to spend any more money on fancy bottles you can use jam jars.
I made two jars of cordial from approximately 25 heads of elderberries.
Elderberries are said to have some health benefits, particularly to help the body recover from viral infections. I take a dessert spoonful twice a day if I have a cold or the syrup can be diluted with hot water to make a warming drink.