Like nature’s bunting to celebrate the start of summer, elderflowers are decorating hedgerows up and down the country right now. So it’s the perfect time to line up some fabulous elderflower recipes and join in the party.
Blooming on elder trees (a shrub or small tree found all over the country) from late spring, elderflowers are a spray of creamy white flowers that, as well as having a heady floral scent, are edible and brilliant in lots of recipes.
While it’s best known in cordial and fizz, elderflower has been used medicinally for centuries. It has anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties and can be made into home-remedies for colds, arthritis and more. Sweet.
Elderflower blooms from late May with June being best time to forage as the flowers are at their freshest. Here’s how to spot elderflower. Collect flowers on a warm, dry day and choose trees away from busy roads as these may absorb nasty traffic fumes.
Give the flowers a gentle shake to evict any insects, then soak or rinse them in cold water and leave them to dry before you get started on these tasty recipes.
The best recipe to start with is a really good cordial. With just 4 ingredients, you’ll have a sweet, fragrant syrup that can be mixed with water (sparkling or still), Prosecco or champagne, or drizzled over a fruit salad or a lemon sorbet.
While you’ve got the sugar out, try this easy peasy recipe for elderflower sugar, perfect for baking, sprinkling over strawberries or stirring into a cocktail.
Not all elderflower recipes are sweet. Add some cordial to a vinaigrette and you’ll get a deliciously summery salad topping. Or try elderflower-infused yoghurt, a surprisingly good match for lamb in this flavour-filled flatbread recipe.
If you’re looking to impress, plan ahead and make this stunning elderflower-cured mackerel dish. It’s a little fiddly but includes how to make basil oil (easy to whizz up) and tomato consommé for a memorable starter.
Carrying on the theme of impressive eats, make this summer fruits, elderflower and prosecco jelly – a proper grown up treat! Or give this easy elderflower sorbet a go, it’s fat-free and wonderfully refreshing.
For the full flower experience, it has to be elderflower tempura with elderflower dipping sauce. Skip the deep frying by popping them in an air fryer for great taste with less oil.
To finish off, it’s no surprise that elderflower is perfect for bakes. Just taste what it can do to a classic lemon drizzle cake, such an easy way to elevate the flavour.
Or try something totally different with these mini elderflower sponge cakes. Filled with elderflower ice, the light-as-air sponge is topped with an elderflower and a dusting of icing sugar, making them the daintiest, prettiest cakes you’ll bake all summer.
Go on an elderflower forage (or use readymade cordial, we won’t tell) and make some of these elderflower-filled recipes – you’ll be thanking us a bunch!