1 Choose elder bushes that are as far away from a road and exhaust pollution as you can find – but please don’t pick flowers in the reserve. Pick maybe twenty five panicles of flowers choosing those with the maximum amount of pollen, as in the header picture, because this is where the flavour of the finished cordial comes from.
2With scissors, snip the flowers from the stalks into a big pot being careful not to shake off any of the pollen. Thinly slice a couple of un-waxed lemons and an un-waxed orange and add them to the pot.
3 Put a kilo of sugar and 1.5 litres of water into a saucepan and stir until all the sugar is dissolved; bring to the boil. Cool slightly and then pour over the elderflowers, lemons and orange. Cover the pot tightly and put it somewhere cool for a minimum of three and a maximum of five days. Stir the mixture once a day.
4 Strain the mixture into a large saucepan; do not squeeze it or your cordial will be cloudy. Add three tablespoons of citric acid and bring to the boil briefly. Cool and decant into very clean glass bottles. You can use the cordial right away diluted with sparkling water or Prosecco but it will store in the dark for up to a year.
Photographs from our archive or as attributed.