There are still some elderberries up on the trees, so I thought I'd post up my elderberry cordial recipe. I try and make this every year as it's very very tasty and is also great for fighting off winter bugs, being a powerful antiviral and great too at soothing coughs and sore throats.
So first thing is to pick your elderberries. I crammed my basket full and in the end, this amount of berries made about 2 and 2/3 large bottles full of cordial.
Next separate off the berries into a large saucepan - using a fork works really well for doing this.
Add enough cold water to just cover your elderberries, bring to the boil and simmer for about 25 minutes - by this time, the juice should be flowing. You can press the berries against the sides of the pan to help squeeze juice out.
Pour the contents through a jelly bag (a muslin cloth would do just as well) and squeeze to get out any juice left over in the berries. I left mine dripping overnight to let gravity do a lot of the work here and then gave it a good wring out in the morning.
Measure how much juice you've got and add 100g white sugar for every 100ml juice. The sugar is the preserving agent, so you can use less if you like a tart drink and don't need it to keep for long. Or add more if you like it really sweet. As I've done it, it should keep for a few months.
Add 5 cloves per 100ml juice to a small muslin pouch and suspend it into the juice/sugar mix in your saucepan. You can just tip them straight in to the juice if you've not got any muslin, but using the muslin makes it a lot easier to get the cloves out at the end.
Simmer until the sugar has melted (around 10 minutes).
Boil your bottle tops while doing this to sterilise them - just add to a little saucepan of boiling water and boil for about 15 minutes.
Pour your cordial into clean bottles and add 5 cloves per bottle to help preserve it. Ideally you should fill the bottles to an inch or less below the bottom of a screw lid or 1.5 inches below a cork.
Sterilise it all - stand the bottles in a tall saucepan with a false bottom (i.e. add a circle of cardboard or a folded tea towell into the bottom so they're not touching the bottom) and fill with water so it goes up over the level of the syrup. Add lids, but don't screw or seal tightly yet. Boil for 20 minutes and then seal the lids down.
As you can see, I've not filled my bottles properly - I don't have a very tall saucepan, so couldn't get the water deep enough while sterilising to cover the syrup level if I'd have filled them properly. But I'm drinking it all that quickly, I don't think this will be a problem!