Frothy and fragrant elder blooms are now exploding all around the hedgerows at Denmark Farm and surrounding countryside. The standard forager recipe for elderflowers is a light and perfumed cordial. This delicate refreshing drink is highly recommended if you can find a large supply of fresh blooms
Elderflowers are particularly abundant this year which holds much promise for an abundant berry crop to follow in a few months. It is best not to get too carried away picking elderflowers though. If you strip the trees of reachable blossoms now, you will have no berries come autumn. Elderberries are another versatile forager’s harvest and also very important as winter food for wildlife.
Elderflower fritters provide a tasty and different use for elder flowers, particularly if you don’t want to consume too much sugar or if you don’t have a large crop. Elderflower fritters can be served as a savoury or sweet dish. Personally, I think they are perfectly complimented by wild strawberries and a good organic vanilla ice-cream.
Make a thick batter with 100g of plain flour, a pinch of salt, 1 free range egg and quarter of a pint of milk. Leave to stand for at least 30 minutes. In the meantime grab a basket and go for a mid summer’s walk to collect some of the freshest creamy elderflower heads you can find. You only need 1-2 heads per person so don’t get too carried away. Cut the heads with a few centimeters of stalk to hold onto whilst dipping.
The Fritters are very simple to make. Lightly shake the stalks to remove any wildlife stowaways. Heat a pan of sunflower or another light cooking oil. The oil needs to be about 5 cm deep. Wait until the oil is very hot then coat the flowers in the batter holding onto the stem. Allow some of the batter to drain off before deep frying them one or two at a time. Once they are golden brown and crisp gently lift out of the oil and drain on paper towel. Serve whilst still warm.
Elderflower fritters make a memorable pudding for a mid-summers day feast, celebrating the bounty of our hedgerows in June.
If you have an unusual use for elderflowers please share it with us.