Making Meadowsweet Cordial in October - surely not! But yes, it's true - I'm making Meadowsweet Cordial today. Is this unusual, you ask? The answer is yes, because Meadowsweet is in flower during the summer months and, although often still in flower in September, it isn't the norm for October. So, writing a blog in October on how to make Meadowsweet Cordial seems a bit silly. In my defence, the weather this year has been super spectacular, and I've noticed that a lot of plants & flowers have had a prolonged growing season. So, when I was out & about this morning, and saw some Meadowsweet still flowering, I thought "Cordial!" and picked a few flower heads. It's true, the flowers I picked today aren't as full as those flowering during the summer months, (they are at the end of their growing season), but I've got just enough to make one final bottle this year, before having to wait until next summer to make more. On the off chance that you also find some flowering where you live, here's a simple recipe for a lovely, summery, Meadowsweet cordial. If there's none flowering where you are now, don't forget to give this recipe a try next summer (and every summer) because it's delicious. If you love Elderflower Cordial, I think you'll love Meadowsweet Cordial too. This recipe is for 1 litre of cordial, but can easily be scaled up or down to suit.
CAUTION: Although the amounts of herbs/flowers that are used in cooking are generally considered to be safe, Meadowsweet contains salicylic acid and is not recommended for those with an intolerance to aspirin.
Top Tips for a great tasting cordial:
Let's get started - Gather your Meadowsweet Cordial Ingredients:
2 handfuls of flowers, removed from the stems
1 Litre water
250 g sugar (125g sugar + 125g sugar)
juice from 1 lemon
Now the fun part - Make Meadowsweet Cordial!
(1) Once picked, shake the flowers to remove any insects and remove the flowers from the stems.
(2) In a saucepan, bring 1 litre of water to the boil, and add half the sugar (125g) and the lemon juice.
(3) When the sugar has dissolved, turn off the heat and add the meadowsweet flowers.
(4) Steep the flowers in the water/sugar/lemon juice solution for a few hours or overnight. The longer it steeps, the richer the flavour.
(5) Strain the mixture, removing the flowers (and any insects).
(6) Return the flower-infused water to the saucepan, add the remaining 125g of sugar, and boil the mixture for 5 minutes ( ensure the sugar has dissolved.)
(7) Pour the mixture into sterilised bottles (see note below) and cap while hot. Allow to cool, and store in a cool, dark place. This makes a thin cordial that is delicious when added to still or fizzy water, with a slice of lemon, and also makes a lovely hot drink. If you'd like the cordial to be more of a syrup, add more sugar and dissolve, until you get the desired consistency.
Note: To sterilise bottles, place them in a cool oven, turn the oven to 100 Celsius . Once the oven has come to temperature, heat the bottles for 20-25 minutes.
Facts you might not know about Meadowsweet:
We know that saying goodbye to summer can be sad, but there's lots of fun to be had this autumn. Embrace the season with country walks, admiring the autumn leaves and picking the last of the garden produce, and hedgerow nuts & berries. We've done just that in our first ever blog, and are here with a few handy tips on how to make Autumn Fruit Liqueurs. It's autumn now, but soon it will be winter, with the cold, wet weather of rain, snow & ice, and the 'I don't want to get out of bed feeling' that comes with cold, dark mornings and the 'Where has the day gone?' early evenings. Unfortunately, hibernating isn't an option. The next best thing? Wrapping up with a blanket, sitting in front of the fire, with a cat (or a very large dog) on my lap, and a glass of Autumn Fruit Liqueur. It's true, you can buy fruit liqueurs in supermarkets, but why would you want to, when you can make them very easily at home, with whatever fruits take your fancy? Liqueurs are incredibly simple to make (I avoid complicated or difficult wherever possible) and are extremely delicious, so that's two very good reasons to have a go. You'll thank yourself in a few months time!
The Basics: Fruit liqueurs can be made with almost any garden or hedgerow fruits. I say 'almost any' because there are a few that I don't make with this method, namely elderberries. Always cook elderberries before eating. Never eat raw elderberries. If you'd like to make elderberry liqueur, which is delicious, cook the elderberries first with water and sugar, to make a syrup, then add the alcohol. When making liqueurs, you can use vodka, gin, brandy, or whiskey. Brandy has always been the 'traditional' choice when making fruit liqueurs (It's my favourite). I always recommend using what you like, because you'll enjoy the finished product so much more. You can get a really vibrant colour on your liqueur if you use vodka and gin, because of their clear colour. You can still get a great colour using brandy and whisky, depending on what fruits you use. Speaking from experience, blackberries and blueberries always give a great colour. When making fruit liqueurs, you can use both fresh and frozen fruit. Fresh if you've got time to pick and make, frozen if you've got time to pick but not enough time to make. Most of my batches are made from frozen. I always seem to have lots of things that need doing, and not enough time to do them in. I'm also easily distracted, and have been known to pick things, leave them, forgotten, on the side somewhere, before remembering too late, and "oh no!", off the remains go to the compost bin. This is extremely frustrating, so for me, popping the fruit into the freezer and then coming back to it later, is the way to go. If you're one of those people who is incredibly 'together', very organised, always gets things done on time, and is never late, well..... you can use fresh berries. Both will taste lovely! Now, for the fun.....
Autumn Fruits Liqueur Ingredients:
Making delicious Autumn Fruit Liqueurs:
Homemade summer & autumn fruit liqueurs make wonderful festive gifts at Christmas. If using frozen fruit, you can make and enjoy them throughout the year.