Meadowsweet Cordial

Meadowsweet flowers

If you like Elderflower Cordial you’ll love this! It has a sweet, honeyed flavour that is perfect diluted with fizzy water. “Children’s Champagne” I told a young man who tried it at the wild food demonstration we at SWHA did, at the Big Tent Festival on Sunday. It’s very easy to make.

Take a large sauce pan and bring two litres of water to the boil. Dissolve about 250 grams of sugar in it and the juice of two lemons (optional). Then add four large handfuls of meadowsweet flowers (about 50) to the pan, submerge in the boiling water for three minutes and remove from the heat to infuse. Overnight is ideal but even an hour or two makes a tasty cordial.

Then filter off the flowers and return to the boil with a further 250 grams of sugar. Boil for five minutes and then pour into sterilised bottles and seal while hot.

The leaves and stems of meadowsweet contain salicylates which gives them a medicinal ‘Savlon’ taste so its best to strip the flowers from the stems first. This is why I don’t boil it, just infuse it as you then get the taste of the flowers and not the stems that get left behind.

This could also be used as a sauce over vanilla ice cream or mixed into a sorbet.


  1. love recipes like this but its the sugar that conserns me due to my illness. Is there is any way round this.

    • Yes. Sugar is mainly a preservative. Pasteurising can be done instead for long term storage or fermenting with water kefir or kombucha for short term storage. Meadowsweet flowers can be made into a tea – optionally sweetened with a little honey or stevia – before the above processes to preserve it. Or just dry the flowers for use when you want them.

  2. How can I be sure it’s meadowsweet I’m harvesting? I think I may have some behind the garden. Should I err on the side of caution and grow my own?

    • Meadowsweet has a very distinctive leaf so is easy to identify. Each pair of opposite large leaves is followed by one or two pairs of tiny ones. At the end three large leaves are fused together. The leaf, chewed, tastes of germolene.

  3. Jane Putsey

    have made a batch and now wonder how long it will keep. I did the 2 l of water and 500g sugar plus juice of 2 lemons. Some websites say keep in fridge others say cool dark place.?

    • It depends how sterile the bottles were and the heat at pour. If I want mine to keep for a long time, I pasteurise them. Well made cordials will keep a year without a fridge in a cool, dark cupboard.

        • You could. If I use a preservative I generally use 0.1% potassium sorbate with 0.1% citric acid (1g of each per 1kg). Both dissolved in a little water first then added. Citric acid on its own isn’t strong enough for yeasts.

  4. Out of interest how do you pasteurise the cordial? I just bought a water bath canner and this is exactly the sort of thing I’d like to do with it. What kind of vessel do you pasteurise the cordial in?

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