When life gives you lemons... make elderflower cordial

Now that elderflower is in bloom, homemade cordial is always a refreshing summertime favourite here at Rory & Ruby. Our favourite recipe makes about 3 litre bottles per batch. A little of this delicious sweet syrupy cordial goes a long way and can be diluted to taste with chilled still or sparkling water and ice. It's great fun to go foraging for the elderflowers. Who doesn't love food for free? And kids love making it and drinking it!

  • Pick 20 good-sized, sweetly scented elderflower heads from trees and bushes that aren't near roads or traffic.
  • 1.8 kg (4lb) granulated sugar
  • 1.2 litres (2 pints) water
  • 6 lemons
  • 50g (2oz) citric acid

Shake off any little insects from the elderflower heads and place in a large bowl. Add the sugar and water into a pan and slowly bring to the boil until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and leave to cool.

Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the lemons, slice the lemons into quarters then add the strips of zest and lemon quarters to the bowl. Pour in the cool sugar syrup, add the citric acid and give a gentle stir. Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave for 24 hours.

Strain the cordial through a double layer of muslin - I use one of Rory & Ruby's lovely large organic muslin cloths folded in half into a triangle to catch every yummy drop

Pour the strained cordial into a sterilised bottle. Old style glass bottles with caps are perfect for sealing in the freshness and it should keep for three months if you store it in a cool dark place. Alternatively, pour into a sterilised recycled plastic bottle and keep for longer in the freezer to instantly bring back a welcome taste of summer!