Ask the Chef: What is the Difference Between Elderflower and Elderberry?

Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

Ask the Chef: What is the Difference Between Elderflower and Elderberry?

Ask the Chef

Ask the Chef: What is the Difference Between Elderflower and Elderberry?



What is the difference between an elderflower syrup and an elderflower cordial—and what about the elderberry fruit?


We are seeing elderberry and elderflower in the news a lot these days, particularly as people pick up on its heritage as a natural remedy for colds and flu—not to mention the selection of an elderflower and lemon flavored wedding cake to be served at the upcoming royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle!

To answer this question, we tapped into an expert from Norm’s Farms, co-founder Ann Lenhardt. She said that “The term elderflower cordial and elderflower syrup are interchangeable and are typically used to describe the same thing: a sweetened elderflower extract.”

Elderflower Syrup by nicomandery via Flickr

We should point out that there may be a difference between terminology in the United States versus the United Kingdom, and that may cause some confusion. Contrary to the name, elderflower cordial does not contain alcohol. If the preparation has alcohol in it, it is typically referred to as an Elderflower Liqueur, like. St. Germain. To be sure you are getting what you want, simply check the ingredients listed on the product of your choice.

Elderflower syrup and elderflower cordial are made with elderflowers infused in a simple syrup with fresh lemon zest. We worked in The Food Channel kitchens with both elderflower syrup and elderflower cordial and used them interchangeably with great success.

Elderberries by Edsel Little via Flickr

When buying any elderberry product, you also want to be sure and differentiate between the elderflower and the berry. For a delicate floral flavor, you may want to give the elderflower a try. The berry, in turn, is usually found as an extract or a syrup that can be used as an ingredient in baking as well, or in tea, or even taken “straight” as part of an immune support program.

There are some nice elderflower sodas and lemonades hitting the aisles of mainstream grocery stores, and we expect anything elderflower to gain more attention in the summer months to come… in fact, some food sites are already figuring out how to replicate the cake.

Elderflower Lemon Cake via Norm’s Farms

If you want to experiment with elderflower yourself, check out this Elderflower Lemon Cake recipe creation from Ann Lenhardt.


*Disclosure: Norm’s Farms is a client of our sister company, CultureWaves.

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