here is another method of making elderflower cordial -
a supermarket bag full of elderflowers; lemon zest; orange zest; water & sugar; lemon juice
Trim all the stalks off the flowers; place in a pot and cover with water, press down with a plate to keep the flowers submerged. Add a tablespoon each of orange and lemon zest (I use seville orange zest which I freeze when the fruit is in season).
Leave to steep a few days - the water will turn a pale golden colour.
Line a colander with a clean tea towel/piece of muslin (rinse thoroughly with boiling water or else you'll be able to taste your soap powder:( and strain out the flowers.
Measure the elderflower infusion and for every litre of elderflower water weigh out 500 g sugar and half the quantity of lemon juice (ie: to each litre water; 500ml lemon juice).
Gradually add the lemon juice to the water, tasting as you go to ensure that you don't overwhelm the flavour of the elderflowers.
To ensure that you have enough lemon juice on hand, measure the water when you steep the elderflowers, squeeze the lemon juice in advance and freeze in silicon texas muffin tins which hold 200ml liquid. Transfer to a ziplock bag when frozen.
Bring to the boil and add sugar 500g at a time. After each addition of sugar, boil until it's dissolved and make up a glass to check for sweetness.
Depending on the tartness of the lemons, you may need to add more sugar. I prefer my cordial less sweet.
Pour the cordial into sterilised screw top bottles and if you've got lots, put them in a water bath for an hour or so and they'll keep indefinitely. Once opened though, it needs to be refrigerated.
Laine - if you have a choice of elderflower trees, sniff all the flowers from each before picking them. Some have a grassy smell and don't taste as nice. Usually, the ones with the best scent are always too close to the road :( Fortunately, they grow wild here so can always find somewhere out of the way to pick my flowers!