As part of the edible flowers series, I thought I’d introduce you to the Elder shrub. At the moment, it is flowering and the blooms are called Elderflower. There are many things you can use these for, for example, I have made Elderflower champagne, Elderflower fritters and Elderflower cordial. It’s such a wonderful smelling flower, there’s nothing quite like it.
The Elder is a decidious shrub/tree with oval, saw toothed leaves. It can be found among hedgerows and in forests. The heads of the Elderflower are made of lots of little blossoms. It can grow to be a huge shrub.
I was skeptical when making these fritters, I had no idea what to expect but I heard lots of people say they were excellent. I coated them first in oat milk and then cornflour (for the vegans and gluten free, if you are veggie, you can use eggs to coat and normal flour). I fried them for a couple of minutes, then coated them in cinnamon sugar and ta da! They were finished. The taste is unusual, they really taste like what they smell like. But once we go used to them, we gobbled them up!
This year, I decided to get serious with my brewing! So I bought this bucket online and made 12 litres of Elderflower champagne. It has now finished fermenting and its alcoholic content is over 5%! Not bad at all. There are lots of recipes online, I used more Elderflower heads because I wanted the taste to be strong. It’s very easy, all you need is Elderflowers, sugar, lemon and cider vinegar. No need for yeast; the flower heads have a lot of yeast on them already, so don’t wash them!
I made a lot of Elderflower cordial, hopefully it’ll last! I have about 5l sitting in the fridge. Making it is so easy, this recipe is good and very straightforward. It can be very sweet, like with all cordials, so you don’t need to use much when making yourself a drink.
This is just to say thank you to my foraging buddy and husband, Alex! He is always game when I want to go out and forage for stuff, he is interested, listens to my ramblings and helps me pick things, especially when I can’t reach. One time, we were in the garden of a pub and I saw some beautiful looking Elderflower. I asked Alex if he could pick them since they were high up and without hesitation, he went and picked them in front of everyone (they were giving us some very strange looks!). Foraging is so much more fun when you’re not alone.
Have you tried using Elderflower? Let me know!