Elderflowers are the taste of summer. The flowers, tiny, white and creamy, blossom in May and June, bringing hedgerows to life and attracting bees and butterflies to the sweet nectar.

Elderflower can be made into a cordial, which can be used to flavour lots of different drinks and desserts. Check out a recipe for elderflower cordial on BBC Countryfile Magazine's website. Elderflower gin goes well with a good-quality tonic water and lots of ice.

Wondering what else to use elderflower or elderberries for? Our elder guide provides more tips on identification and ideas for recipes, including elderflower fritters, elderflower sorbet and elderberry wine.

If you want to find out more about else you can forage, head on over to our foraging hub which is full of great advice and recipe ideas, such as best foraging books and our expert guide to sustainable foraging.

How to identify elderflower

Foraging for elderflower. © Michael Moeller/EyeEm/Getty

Make sure you've identified the elderflower correctly - don't mistake it for other similar flower sprigs at this time of year.

The flowers should hang in clusters from the branches of trees, with a flat-topped appearance. The flowers are best when they have just burst open.

Look for creamy white flowers with a strong elderflower smell, rather than blooms that are going a bit brown around the edges.


  • 1 bottle Gin
  • 5-8 per bottle Elderflower sprigs,
  • Sugar
  • Lemon rind, couple of strips


  • STEP 1

    Pour your gin into a glass bowl for safe-keeping. Shake off your elderflower sprigs to remove any bugs or dirt, then add them to both empty bottles.

  • STEP 2

    Add a couple of tablespoons of sugar and a couple of strips of lemon rind, then refill the bottles with gin. Shake to mix everything together.

  • STEP 3

    After about a week, the gin should take on a pale yellow colour. Taste, and if you're happy with the flavour, strain through a muslin cloth.

This is a recipe from 365 Days Wild by Lucy McRobert, published by Harper Collins Publishers.

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365 Days Wild by Lucy McRobert

Main image: © Rostislav Sedlacek/Getty


Lucy McRobertWildlife storyteller, communications expert and writer

Lucy McRobert is the Communications Manager at the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, the author 365 Days Wild, and columnist for Birdwatch magazine