Lime Flower Cordial
By Mike on Monday, July 15, 2013, 22:53 - Permalink
15 July 2013 - Another summer flower cordial - it's quick and easy to make using Lime flowers.
It can be diluted with still or sparking water to make a delicious summery drink, or can be frozen into ice cubes for flavouring other drinks.
I've described the Lime (Linden) tree in other pages - this year seems especially good for the flowers; they're a little late, but very large and abundant.
If you're looking for Lime trees, you're actually likely to smell them before you see them - when in full flower (as here), they fill the whole area with a powerfully sweet aroma - unlike some other trees where the smell is pleasant only from a distance, Lime flowers are just delicious, even close up.
Pick a large number of lime flowers - they tend to come away from the tree in little bunches, so it's worth picking them early in the season - that way, you get fresh flowers and unopened buds, rather than open flowers and some brown, dead ones.
Making Lime Flower Cordial
The exact quantity you gather doesn't matter, as this recipe is scalable - I picked enough flowers to three-quarters fill a 2 litre ice cream tub.
On returning home, spread the flowers out on a tray and pick them over for any foreign bodies and insects.
Place the flowers in a large bowl or bucket and add enough cold water to completely cover them - press them down with a spoon or spatula.
Cover the container and leave to infuse for half an hour - it helps if you come back occasionally and give them a stir.
After infusing the flowers, the liquid will be pale greenish yellow in colour - strain it off into a clean jug.
I use a 2 stage straining process to get it nice and clear - initially, through a colander to remove the bulk of the flowers (this means you can also squeeze out more of the liquid), then again through a coffee filter paper in a funnel - to remove any loose petals, stray bugs, grit, etc.
Interestingly, even after infusing and draining the flowers once, they still have plenty of fragrance - see below for detail.
Measure the volume of liquid, then for each litre (approx 1.75 UK pints, or 1 US quart), you will need to add:
- The strained juice of two lemons
- 200g (approx 7 ounces or 1 cup) of granulated white sugar
Warm this gently in a pan to dissolve the sugar, then turn up the heat and bring it to the boil - allow to boil for no more than a minute (or you will boil out the aromatic flavours) then take off the heat.
To bottle, either sterilise the bottles, then fill them (carefully!) with the hot cordial and seal them whilst still hot - these can be stored in a cool dark place for months without spoiling, but once opened will need to be refrigerated.
Or just allow the cordial to cool, transfer into clean bottles and store them in the fridge - they'll keep for a few weeks.
To Serve Lime Flower Cordial, dilute it about 1 part cordial to 5 parts chilled water (or sparkling water) and serve with ice and lemon. It's a delicious, refreshing summer drink with a sweet, fruity, melon-like aroma.
The undiluted cordial can also be frozen in ice cube trays - the ice cubes will add their delicate flavour to any drink.
Lime Flowers - Packed With Flavour
Although Lime flowers have quite a gentle flavour, they have a lot of it - after the initial steeping to make the cordial, the flowers are still very fragrant and can be re-used.
To re-use the flowers, immerse them again in cold water, infuse for half an hour, then drain and strain the liquid - this time, it will have enough in them to make a Lime flower drink that doesn't need dilution.
Filter the liquid directly into a serving jug, add the juice of one lemon and a few tablespoons of sugar - stir to dissolve (taste some and adjust the flavour with more sugar and lemon juice if needed) - cover the jug and chill it in the fridge until ready to serve.