June is the month of elderflower. Its pretty white heads of delicate little flowers announce this hedgerow tree's location. Luckily It's often found in urban areas, to the delight of city foragers. Do bottle up this fragrant bloom as cordial for darker days, but whilst it is fresh make the most of it with these suggestions.
Elderflower Fritters with Honey
Delicious as a light dessert on their own, or with vanilla ice-cream. Serves 4.
- 16 elderflower heads
- Non-strongly flavoured oil for deep-frying e.g. groundnut or sunflower
- Salisbury Honey for drizzling
- 100g self-raising flour
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 2 tsp golden caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 175ml sparkling water
- a pinch of salt
Remove the thicker stalks, leaving small bitesize sprigs of elderflowers. You want around 3 or 4cm of oil in a saucepan. Over a medium heat bring the oil to 180 C, we recommend using a kitchen thermometer probe.
Whilst the oil is coming up to temperature, combine the dry batter ingredients in a bowl. Beat together the egg and the sparkling water. Then slowly pour the wet mixture into a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, whisk until combined. Use the batter immediately as it will retain the bubbles from the sparkling water, which make the texture of the batter lighter.
Dip the elderflower heads into the batter, then fry until golden. You can put several in the pan at once. Remove using a slotted spoon and place onto kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil. Drizzle with Salisbury Honey and enjoy straight away whilst still crispy.
Elderflower & Rose Tea
Elderflower & rose petals make a delicate herbal tea which subtly captures the fragrance of an English garden in early summer. Only use roses which you know are unsprayed, so either from your garden or sold as edible flowers. Damask roses are particularly good as they are heavily perfumed.
- 1 good sized head of elderflower, with the majority of stalks removed - don't worry about the thin stalks the flowers themselves are on.
- Petals from 4 large, scented roses
- 1/2 litre cool water
- 5 ml lemon juice
- Honey to taste, we recommend Salisbury Honey
Combine the ingredients, except the honey, in a pan and bring to the boil, simmer gently for a few minutes. Ladle or strain into cups and sweeten as desired with honey. Makes 2-3 cups of tea.
Elderflower Infused Honey
I also love chef Eddie Shepherd's suggestion of infusing honey with elderflowers. Simply remove the stalks from the elderflowers, pack into a kilner jar and pour over the honey. Infuse for one week, then strain the honey off into a clean jar. Serve with cheese or in drinks.
Chef Eddie Shepherd's photo of elderflower infused honey.