By: Blonde Two
If you have ever sniffed your way past an elder tree in spring, you will recognise the heady scent of elderflowers. You may have even arrived home with tiny white flowers in your hair because, despite their delicate appearance, these umbrella-like flowers can hang heavy on their stems, especially when the bees are enjoying their bounty.
We have several elders just a stones throw from our doorstep (throwing stones at elders from your doorstep is not to be recommended). I am often away in May and miss the opportunity to make the most of these fragrant blooms. Since lockdown began I have been taking full advantage of the foraging potential of our local copse (picking carefully and sparingly of course) and have made:
- wild garlic foraged pesto
- pickled rock samphire (from the beach not the copse)
- pickled three-cornered-leek flowers
- wild garlic ommelette
- elderflower cordial
- wild garlic and vegetable soup
- elderflower champagne (work in progress)
I am looking forward to the elderberries and blackberries, as well as a few other summer delights. I never cease to be amazed at the bounty I can find so close to home. The elderflower cordial is very sticky and sweet but is fantastic in gin or with water and ice on a hot day, and Mr B2 and I have been particularly enjoying the wild garlic pesto (stored in the freezer) on our Friday night homemade pizzas.
I am most excited however about my elderflower champagne. I have made alcohol before but never on purpose, and am waiting nervously to see if I end up with vinegar for the autumn pickling or something delicious to accompany summer dinners. The concoction consists of water, elderflowers, lemons, lots of sugar and a whole load of natural yeast. I have some wine yeast at the ready but am hoping not to need to use this. We are used to natural yeast in our household, Herbert the sourdough starter has been part of the family for at least a year. I am currently at the ‘hovering over the bucket looking for bubbles’ stage but am rather looking forward to the ‘donning a helmet in case the bottles explode’ stage. There is after all, something rather exciting about making your own gas.