Gorse cordial in the Cornish countryside

Gathering gorse flowers to make cordial

My partner and I went picking gorse flowers in the Cornish countryside to make gorse flower syrup. Gorse hedgerows line the pathways in this area, and all of the surrounding hedges have started to flower. Gorse flowers give off a coconut scent, but I have not found that these really taste like anything. The flowering times and the availability of gorse varies depending on which county you are in in the UK.

Gorse flower is a prickly bush, and extremely prolific in this area! The tips bloom with half a dozen flowers at a time, with tiny leaves and medium-sized thorns. I would recommend wearing a rubber kitchen glove when picking these flowers. My technique was to gently grab and pull off as many gorse blossoms as possible at a time. You will need a lot of flowers to make gorse flower syrup.

Flowering gorse hedgerows syrup recipe

Self sufficiency gorse flowers syrup lemon

We set out to make a syrup, but we ended up with a much lighter, lemony cordial. It’ll be a very refreshing summery drink, I am really pleased with the flavour. Our host, Caroline doesn’t think it has enough of that coconuts gorse scent imbued in the cordial. She’s not wrong, it tastes like a light, sweet, lemony, refreshing summery beverage…but no strong coconut scent or flavour.

Notes for next time;

The gorse flowers may have needed to be picked during a warmer week, on a fully sunny day to catch all that subtle coconut scent.

Fat Hen cookery school gorse brewing

How to make gorse flower cordial;

10 cups gorse flowers

7 litres water

8.75 kg sugar

6 lemons

50g citric acid

Makes about 10 litres

Heat the water to a simmer and add the sugar and dissolve. Add the flowers and lemons and bring to a simmer again, then take off heat and let steep overnight.

Ideal summer beverage how to make gorse cordial

The next day, add the citric acid and stir in thoroughly to the cordial. Leave to sit while you prepare the bottles, ladle, jugs, jelly bag and funnels.

Wash the bottles you plan to put the cordial in and put them and the lids in the oven on a low heat – around 50°C, to dry the bottles. Boil the kettle and soak the jelly bag, jugs, ladle and funnels in hot water for a few minutes.

Fat Hen cookery school gorse cordial

Difference in colour after addition of citric acid.

Sling the jelly bag over the large-mouthed funnel and ladle the cordial into the bag to filter the flowers out of the liquid poured into the jug. It can be helpful if there is someone else to help with this part. Use a narrow-mouthed funnel to pour the filtered cordial into the bottles.

Gorse cordial brewing instructions ladle jug
Fat Hen Cornwall cordial making

Clean off with a damp cloth and leave to dry before labelling. Shelf life of unopened bottle should be 6-12 months. Gorse cordial will last longer in the fridge after opening.

How to make coconut scented gorse flower cordial


I have only used gorse flowers in cordial, and salads. I have also included other gorse cordial recipes (maybe these will have a stronger gorse-coconut scent)

Grow, Eat, Gather

Eat Weeds


Elderflower season will soon be upon us also! Be prepared with a recipe for how to make a rich sweet elderflower cordial.

About kellymarietheartist

I am an artist who, up until recently, was living and exhibiting within Toowoomba and the greater Granite Belt district. I have since packed up and left Australia, and am currently living and working in England. My work engages the craft involved in handmaking within a contemporary art context. I am drawn to the physicality of repetitive textile processes, and this is transcribed though the tactile quality of my forms. In particular, processes such as crochet, sewing and rug making serve as a proxy for growth within my personal environment. Many of my works imitate situations in nature, and they form organically as I create each individual piece, each addition both a continuation and re-enforcement of its predecessors. I enjoy using recycled materials for many of my works. Using crochet and other textile techniques to do this is an important part of my work as it celebrates a tradition of craft that has historically been relegated to 'women's work', with all the negative connotations that entails.
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2 Responses to Gorse cordial in the Cornish countryside

  1. Pingback: How to make wild garlic pesto (vegan friendly!) | kellymariemcewan

  2. Pingback: Helping out at a wild foods cookery school in Cornwall, Penzance | kellymariemcewan

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