Lavender flower cordial

What could be nicer on a warm summer's day than a quirky unusual cool lavender cordial.  Fun, and a great way to introduce yourself and your family to the world of herbal medicines.  Let us jump in with a very basic lavender cordial.  Lavender flowers are not yet blooming in my part of the world, so I used dried flowers for this recipe.  

You will need: 3/4 cup (loosely packed) of dried lavender flowers or a cup (loosely packed) of fresh flowers.  

One cup of white granulated sugar

One cup of water

1/2 teaspoon of citric acid or 4 Tablespoons of lemon juice.  

A stainless steel pot

a wooden spoon for stirring your syrup

A thermometer (optional)

  1. Put your sugar and water into your pot, on a low heat on your cooker.
  2. Very slowly heat up your mixture, stirring all the time.  The sugar must totally dissolve in your water.  You will see it will go clear and you will no longer feel any "grittiness" in your pot.
  3. If you have a thermometer, (usually used for jams and food preparation) you can check the temperature - it should be about 60 degrees C.  Keep your pot on the low heat for about another 5-10 min, stirring all the time.  Your temperature should not go above 80-90 degrees, you don't want your cordial turning to jam!  If you don't have a thermometer, then just watch your pot, when you start to see steam and possibly tiny bubbles forming at the sides, it is about right.  Now turn the heat off.
  4.  Add your citric acid or lemon juice.
  5. Now, you can either add your lavender flowers and leave for a few days in your pot, or you can put your lavender flowers in a strong glass jar, pour the syrup over them, put the lid on, and leave for 3-5 days in a warm dark place.  If using the jar method, make sure your jar is only about 3/4 full with flowers, the dried flowers are fluffy and will absorb a lot of liquid.  Also, be very careful when pouring the hot syrup as it is easy to get a bad burn with hot sugary mixes.  
  6. Now label you blend.  
  7. In a few days time, strain out the flowers through a fine sieve or a muslin cloth.  Warm it up a little and bottle it in a pretty glass bottle, with a label stating the ingredients and date you made it.  
  8. To use - dilute to taste with water, fizzy water or even an alcohol like vodka or gin.  Enjoy!
  9. If you want to try out something different, add a sprig of mint, a few rose petals, or other herbs.  Be creative, have fun with it.  
I know we are all a little sugar phobic now days.  Sugar is essential for preserving your cordial, and it will be well diluted so there is not much sugar in it compared to fruit juices or soft drinks.  The cordial will last about 4-5 weeks, if you live in a hot climate or once the bottle is open, store in the fridge.  Other flowers and herbs can be used instead of lavender - violet, rose, lilac, hibiscus etc.