This weekend the elderflowers are in their prime: they are at their best after the buds have just popped open and you can eat the flowers straight off the tree. Below are a couple of elderflower recipes to try out.
Most of us are familiar with Elderflower cordial, but my favourite early summer Elderflower recipe is the fritter – simply prepare a beer batter, find some flat flower heads, dip into the batter and fry in hot oil. They can be eaten as a starter tempura style with small sliced courgettes, or you can sprinkle them with icing sugar and enjoy them with ice cream.
Another great recipe is Elderflower and Gooseberry preserve – the elderflowers elevate the gooseberries into a superb combination.
You need 4 large elderflower heads, 500g of gooseberries and 500g of sugar. Trim off as much of the elderflower stalk as possible (as it is rather bitter). Wash, top and tail the gooseberries and place in a pan with a pint (500ml) of water, simmer for half an hour while mashing up the fruit as you go. Add the sugar and stir quickly until it has desolved, then bring to the boil, add the elderflowers wrapped in a muslin bag and boil to the setting point using your jam thermometer. Remove the flowers and pour the conserve into sterilized jam jars.