Take a look around you today, whatever you are doing and I have no doubt that you will see the beautiful foaming white heads of Elderflower in a field, ditch, hedge, park or wood, somewhere near you. Elder is a deciduous shrub or small tree which is very prolific in Ireland. The Latin name is Sambucus nigra. The elder flowers in June/July and it berries in August and in September., The name elder comes from the Anglo Saxon aeld, which means fire, because in former times the hollow stems were used to blow through, to ignite fires. We are getting very academic here but the term sambucus was used by Pliny and comes from the greek sambuca, which refers to the musical instrument. I love it’s speckled stems and rather peculiar smell when you snap off a branch. It’s not an unpleasant smell, just strange…..
I already have an elderflower recipe for wine on my blog but there is so much more you can do with Elder. You can make gorgeous Elderflower fritters, Champagne and you can pickle the elder buds and in Autumn you can make delicious elderberry crumble. Served with yoghurt it is delicious .
Today I am going to give you the recipe for the Fritters because they are so lovely.
Elderflower Fritters – serves 4
4 oz of flour
1 egg free range – if possible
1/4 pint of tepid water
Pinch of salt
Unwashed elderflower heads.
Make a batter using the ingredients, except the elderflower heads.
Hold the elderflower heads by their stalks and dip into the batter until completely coated.
Deep fry the flowerheads in very hot oil until golden brown.
Drain thoroughly on kitchen paper. You can cut off the extra bit of stalk if you like.
Serve hot sprinkled with sugar or a pinch of cinnamon.
These can be used for a lovely pudding or for a bit of a wow factor at a drinks party.