elderflower and lemons and a glass jar
elderflower and lemons and a glass jar

Make your own Elderflower syrup


  • 2.5kg white sugar, either granulated or caster

  • 2 unwaxed* lemons

  • 20 fresh elderflower heads, stalks trimmed

  • 85g citric acid** (from chemists see below)

*The recipe calls for unwaxed lemons… what on earth are these I hear you ask! The producers spray their lemons with wax to make them last longer (and look shiny and healthy). Unwaxed lemons can be found at farm shops or farmers markets but they can be a little tricky to come by. Fear not! Simply put your waxed lemons in a cup or bowl of hot water and leave for five minutes. Then rub the wax off with a cloth or soft brush.

**Citric acid is what preserves your syrup into the autumn and winter months (if you still have any left by then). It is not an essential ingredient but I have found it useful. It can be bought online or at a chemist/pharmacy. It is likely you’ll be asked why you need the citric acid because it also happens to be used to dissolve heroin and crack cocaine. Please don't be offended if you get asked as it is standard practice here in the UK and just say you are using it to make elderflower syrup.

Its time to make your elderflower syrup and its sooo easy! Follow our recipe for refreshing elderflower syrup. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

  • Prep: 20 mins

  • Cooking time: 10 mins

  • Makes about 4 litres (so I suggest re-using several glass jars or bottles ready)

You will need to collect around 20 elderflower heads, preferably on a sunny day as this is when the flowers are open and the pollen is at it’s best. Collect them from a traffic free area (you don’t want car fumes amongst your syrup) and try to pick them from several different trees so you’re spreading what you take. These elderflowers will eventually make elderberries which can also be picked and made into syrup or wine later on in the year. There are some good guidelines for foraging responsibly at the Woodland Trust which I like and can be found here:



  1. Put the sugar and 1.5 litres (2 and ¾ pints) of water into a large saucepan. Gently heat it without boiling until the sugar has dissolved.

  2. Give it a stir every now and again. Peel the zest from the lemons using a potato peeler, then slice the lemons.

  3. Once the sugar has dissolved, bring the pan of syrup to the boil, then turn off the heat.

  4. Fill a washing up bowl with cold water. Give the flowers a gentle wash to remove any dirt or insects.

  5. Remove the flowers and gently shake them to remove excess water. Transfer them to the pan with the syrup and add the lemons, zest and citric acid. Give it a good stir then cover the pan and leave for 24 hrs to infuse the flavour.

  6. Take a colander and line it with a clean tea towel, then sit it over a large bowl or pan. Grab a ladle and use that to pour in the syrup into the lined colander letting it drip slowly through into the bowl below.

  7. Once its all drained discard what's left in the towel. Using a funnel and a ladle fill sterilised* bottles with the drained syrup from the bowl. It is ready to drink straight away and will keep in the fridge for up to 6 weeks. Alternatively why not try freezing it in plastic containers or ice cube trays and defrost when required.

    *You can sterilise glass bottles by running them through the dishwasher, or wash well with soapy water. Then rinse them and leave to dry in a low oven.

Good luck and as always, let me know how your recipe turned out! We would love to see pictures of your creations using our recipe so why not send them to my email address sandy@allthingsgreen.uk and we can look to publish them on our site.