Elderberry cordial

Elderberry cordial is packed full of vitamin C and makes the perfect comforting hot drink when you have a cold. But you’ll need to get picking – elderberries have ripened early this year, so find a bush away from roads or other pollution and get those scissors out (wear an anorak – the berries stain like you won’t believe!).

Makes approx. 1 litre

750g fresh elderberries, thickest stalks removed
500ml water
2 dessert apples
500g Demerara sugar
1 tsp citric acid
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Place the elderberries in a stockpot with the water and roughly chopped apple. Simmer for about half an hour until the berries and apple are well cooked. Strain everything through a jelly bag (or piece of clean woven cotton in a sieve) overnight.
Pour the strained juice into the cleaned stockpot and add the sugar, citric acid and cinnamon. Heat very gently until the sugar has completely dissolved. Allow the cordial to cool for about 10 minutes, then decant into a large, warmed sterilised bottle. Seal immediately.
The cordial will keep unopened for several months, but once opened, store in the fridge. Serve diluted with hot water to taste.

* incidentally, the colour of elderberry is an anthocyanin, one of nature's most common colouring molecules, which gives not only purple but also blues, reds and greens. It will act as a natural acid-base indicator... you can have lots of fun with the kids by setting up eg. 10 glasses with a drop of the juice in water. Add acids (lemon juice, vinegar etc) and alkalis (soap, milton, bicarbonate of soda) and watch the colours change! I never cease to find this fascinating.


Recipes about gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, alcohol-free and vegan cooking.

By the way - don't forget to ask all your guests if they have an allergy (because the recipes use some unusual combinations and they may not expect to find citrus and soya in a chocolate cake, for example).
pps.if you are cooking for someone with an allergy, please read my allergy post first.