Cook, Gather
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A flurry of activity in the kitchen: Elderberry, thyme and rose hip cordial

My little oven has not seen so much activity in weeks.  I made two bottles of a cold and flu remedy, just in time for well the cold and flu season , a bottle of iron tonic, as well as dinner all in a couple of hours.

I was introduced to the wonders of elderberry by Sarah Head and have since made elderberry cordial many times.  This was the first time I branched out with my own recipe.

Elderberries, thyme and rose hips are wonderful herbs to use for colds.  Elderberry and thyme have anti-viral properties, and rose hips are rich in Vitamin C.  The rose hips were fat, juicy and sweet – my friend and I had a nibble while we were picking them a few weeks ago.  These were frozen and I popped them into the pan whole.  Once the herbs were cooked through I strained it though a jelly bag.  Rose hips are full of seeds and their tiny hairs are an irritant – so always make sure if you use them whole to always strain them through a jelly bag.

I wasn’t sure how strong the thyme would be so I was a little cautious.  I think next time I will add more, and let the flavour come through.


Add a small bowl of de-steamed elderberries making sure to remove any green berries to a pan with a couple of sprigs of thyme and a few frozen rose hips.  Cover with about a pint and half of water or there about.  Boil/simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool.  Strain and squeeze through a jelly bag – use gloves – elderberry stains!  Measure the remaining liquid and add honey.  I had a pint of liquid so I added 6 oz of honey.  Allow the honey to melt and boil/simmer again for 10 minutes – allow to cool slightly.  Meanwhile sterilise your bottles and while they are still hot decant the cordial.


To create a warming cordial you can add cinnamon, and ginger.  You can also add brandy which is delicious.  I’ve omitted the brandy as I want to take this to work so I added a tsp of citric acid as a preservative.

Well now that burst of energy is over.  I’m off to bed with a hot elderberry cordial, and a drop of bramble elixr in the hope I can ward off any potential cold!



    • I’m hoping to try more elderberry recipes next year – hopefully they will stick around a bit longer too

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