Elder trees are among my favorite plants. Not only are they fantastic trees to have in any garden, they regulate the soil and look out for all the other plants around them, they are also such versatile trees. You can use the flowers, the berries, and even the wood is gorgeous and smells really nice. The bees love them too. All around fantastic.
Here are some of recipes that we try to make each year:
The recipe is very simple, the resulting jelly is excellent on bread, pancakes, and it can even be used for a lighter version of the famous Linzertorte.
This recipe creates a fizzy, slightly alcoholic lemonade, with the characteristic strong natural carbonation it can sometimes bubble out of the bottle like champagne. This drink brings back fond memories of my childhood.
Add 6 – 8 stems of elderflowers with some lemon slices to 1 liter of water.
Leave in a sunny spot for 24 hours.
Add 1 kg white sugar, bring to a boil while stiring.
Add 20 g of citric acid, stir well, careful as it may boil over.
Fill into clean bottles while still hot.
Thin it 1 : 7 with water and ice and it will create not only a delicious drink, but it’s also a resource of vitamin C through the winter. Speaking of winter, we often drink the cordial hot with a slice of lemon and some cayenne, which feels great and so very warming in the tummy.
Inspired by a recipe from the Denis Cotter book wild garlic, gooseberries …and me, he uses the whole elderflower heads and dips them in the batter below. We prefer to make pancakes with it.
4 – 6 heads of elderflower (we separate the elderflowers from the stems for smoothe pancake)
Add a pinch of salt, some cinnamon and grated lemon zest to 160 g flour.
Mix 2 eggs, 1 tablespoons of orange juice, 200 ml sparkling mineral water.
Mix the batter and add the tiny flowers.
Fry like pancakes in butter.
Sprinkle with icing sugar or with cinnamon sugar.
Eat this with some strawberries, hey, they are in season around the same time.
Elderflower Gateau de Vully
Crumble 15 g of fresh yeast and add 1 tablespoon of sugar, cover and let it sit for a few hours.
Mix 350 g flour (Zopfmehl) with a pinch of salt.
Add 40 g of butter and rub it into the flour with your hands.
Mix 2 dl milk with one small egg.
Create your dough and let it rise for a few hours.
Mix 1 dl of cream with one egg yolk.
Spread the dough in a thick layer on a baking tray, with your thumb create holes in the surface and add small chunks of butter.
Spread the elder flowers on top and cover with the cream/egg mix.
Sprinkle 50 g of coarse sugar (what we call Hagelzucker), alternatively use sugar cubes broken down roughly.
Bake for 15 – 20 minutes at 200° C.
Sometimes we add elderflowers to our kombucha, usually dried or when they are in season fresh. The difference is that the dried kind can be added to the green tea or tea while brewing, while the fresh flowers have to be added after the kombucha has finished brewing to be left for a few days after in the filtered kombucha.
Elderflowers have to be dried like parsley. Meaning, spread them out on a baking sheet, in an open oven at around 50 – 100 C. If you dry them like normal herbs and flowers they tend to lose most of their flavor.
Create your favorite beer batter, add elderflowers, fry in sunflower oil, eat with soy sauce and chili sauce.
Use your favorite berry cordial recipe for a sweet vitamin C rich cordial to last through winter, no adaption needed.
For a medicinal cordial add the fresh elderberries to Brandy to create a tincture/cordial that will keep the common cold away all winter.
1 cup elderberries
1 cup brandy
Let steep for four weeks, strain, add honey for taste.
Elder berries jelly
Use your favorite berry jelly recipe, adapt it knowing that elderberries are among the fruit that contain very little natural pectin. This jelly has a very intense color and and almost earthy flavor, works best on a soft, sweet bread.
Bloom raider: Yotam Ottolenghi’s elderflower recipes – A nice collection of ideas by the one and only Ottolenghi, including a pickle, ice cream and mash.
Elderflower and Coriander Vodka Recip