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June 2019

Tinctures , Tonics and Teas ~ Elderflower Cordial



Elderflower cordial

Today I'm making the elderflower cordial that was taught to me by my dear friend Jane Toth, our dedicated Western Reserve Herb Society Garden Chair. Beautiful snowy Elderflowers have been traditionally used for centuries in German medicine. They are thought to have antioxidant properties as well as anti inflammatory and antiviral effects, which is why they're probably still  used in this century  as a popular remedy to help fight off colds and flu. Elderflowers can be brewed as an herbal tea as well, but Jane’s recipe is one of the best I’ve ever tried, and it produces a delicious sweet cordial that she freezes and uses all year long simply to enjoy or when she feels just a wee bit under the weather!

I've added ginger root and turmeric to mine for extra anti -inflammatory and immune support and simply because it gives it a lovely spicy taste!  Just boil 7 cups of spring water and melt in 2 pounds of sugar and a cup of honey. Add the sliced lemon( about 4 of them), 2 ounces of citric acid and a sliced ginger root and turmeric root. Then stir in about thirty elderflower heads that you’ve shaken the bugs off of and clipped all but the teensiest stems from  the stems from.

Don’t forget this important step. Many don’t realize that  the elderberry plant contains a cyanide-inducing glycoside. Eating a enough  of these  can cause a  buildup of cyanide in the body and make you quite ill, so only use the tiniest stems! I take a flower, pinch the stems up to the top and clip it there. This insures that I get only the smallest amount of stem. 

Once you’ve stirred the elderflowers in , let the mixture sit covered with a clean linen towel for the next 48 hours, stirring occasionally. Then bottle it and freeze or put it into mason jars and can it in a nice hot water bath. Serve this cordial stirred into sparkling water , over lemon sorbet or mixed into a classic vodka and soda! If you prefer, do as my friend Jane does and pour it into a cordial glass to simply sip! However you choose to enjoy it, having a few bottles of this cordial around will insure that you have the experience of summer all year round!