Elderflower syrup

It’s this season again. Elderflowers are blooming in every park and their white heads decorate the bushes. When you cycle or walk past them you can smell their enchanting scent. For me, the blossoming of elderflower marks the beginning of early summer. Indeed, their season ranges from May to July. In Amsterdam they have been blooming since the last days of May. During our weekly Taste Before You Waste team meeting we talked about elderflower and of how much every one of us loves the smell. However we were all aware that the elderflower season won’t last long. Wouldn’t it be lovely to be reminded of the early summer scent all over the year? Yes, it would definitely be! Therefore we brought up the idea of making elderflower syrup. It worked out really well and we are very proud of our very own cordial. We want you to be happy too and therefore share our Taste Before You Waste recipe with pleasure.

selfmade elderflower syrup (c) Sophie Minihold

Harvesting elderflowers

The Taste Before You Waste team met on a sunny Sunday. Never harvest elderflowers on a rainy day. The delicate blossoms will stick together and the pollen, which gives the cordial its colour and taste, will eventually be washed off. We recommend you to collect the umbels in the nature rather than next to a street with a lot of traffic. You really do not want to bottle blossoms enriched with exhaust gases. Cut them carefully and do not harm the tree more than necessary. Never harvest all elderflowers from one tree. You would destroy its possibility to reproduce. Leave at least one third of all blossoms on the tree. Try to remove all insects and bugs before putting the flowers in your bag.

Plucking elderflowers on a Sunday with friends is lovely! (c) Sophie Minihold



  • 20 heads of elderflower
  • 2 organic lemons
  • 1 kg cane sugar
  • 1 litre water
  • 50 grams of citric acid


Day one:

Remove the stalk of the elderflowers and put the blossoms in a big pot. Peel the organic lemons, cut them into halves and squeeze them. It is very important to use organic grown lemons instead of conventionally grown ones. Again, you really want to avoid pesticides in your yummy elderflower syrup. Add the lemon peel, the lemon juice, water, and let it soak overnight.

Organic lemon peel gives your elderflower syrup a refreshing kick. (c) Sophie Minihold

Day two:

Heat the mix and strain the infused water afterwards. You got best filtered results if you use muslin. Squeeze it until the elderflower blossoms are almost dry. You can discard the blossoms as well as the lemons. They gave all their taste to the water which will now look cloudy due to the pollen. Heat the infused water in a big pot and add the sugar. Stir until the sugar crystals are dissolved. You can turn the heat off and add the acid.

Filtering the infused water. Our syrup appears darker because we used cane sugar instead of white refined sugar. (c) Sophie Minihold

To make your syrup durable, you need sterile bottles with a metal lid. Bottles with a screw plug are not appropriate. Heat a pot with water, add the bottles, the lids as well as a metal funnel and boil them for approximately ten minutes. Place the bottles headlong on a sterile cloth. You can either wait until they are cool or start bottling right away. Pour the hot syrup with the aid of the sterile metal funnel into the bottles. Close them and let them cool headlong.

You can use elderflower syrup in various ways. You can bake cakes, spice up ice cream, pour it over pancakes or simply drink it mixed with water. To celebrate our syrup session we bought prosecco and fresh mint to prepare a drink called Hugo.

Prost! (c) Sophie Minihold

Hugo recipe

Mix sparkling water and prosecco in a wineglass in the proportion of 1:1. Add a shot of syrup and stir. Decorate the drink with fresh mint and preferably enjoy it on a sunny day.

If you do not have the time to prepare elderflower syrup yourself, simply join us at our Wasteless Wednesday Dinners. We serve our very own elderflower cordial at the bar. If you do decide to prepare it yourself: Have fun bottling the essence of early summer!

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