Friday, April 29, 2005

Elderflowers

It is said that the English summer is not fully here untill the Elderflowers are inbloom and it ends when the Elderberries are ripe.

Elderflower is a flavor I have just discovered here and fallen deeply for. I first had it on my birthday as a cordial mixed with sparkling water. The flavor is remnicent of lychee fruit for me. I don't know that I have seen it in the states, but then again, I didn't know to look.

The flowers have a very short season, as small as 2 to 3 weeks in the later part of june. While the Elder is most often sighted for it's medicinal uses it's flower and fruit have a home in the kitchen. The flowers are used for the cordial I have tasted, granite and sorbet, and I suppose anything you want to flavor. The berries are ripe late in the year and are used for a very traditional winter wine. And if a sheep eats the bark, it will cure itself of foot rot!!!

Michel Bras has a recipe on his website for Elderflower syrup and another for Elderflower lemonade. El Bulli has dipped small sprigs of the fresh flowers in a tempura like batter and deep fried them. The pastry chef at The Fat Duck said there was a tree that blooms just around the corner from the restaurant and that he too was excited for the season.

I am very excited to see them in bloom and taste my first flower. I can't imagine that they don't grow in the pacific northwest somewhere. Oh, wouldn't I just love to plate a dessert with those tiny white flowers? They are just too cute!!

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are a few trees near the bridge too on the way into Bray just before you reach the field on the left with the horses. Pick early and make some great cordial.

April 29, 2005 5:08 PM  
Anonymous diane said...

we are sitting at your moms house enjoying your blog,it is great all the pictures of you and the pigs face. we miss you.

April 29, 2005 8:39 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

I saw the trees, there seem to be quite a few if I am correctly identifying them. But the flowers seem sadly out of reach. The trees are giant. Am I seeing the right thing?

April 30, 2005 5:09 PM  
Blogger chicchef said...

I had a delicsious "mojito" at Chis's wedding, it was a different kind of drink with a gin and elderflower water and a mint sprig and then a lime slice. But no muddling or crazy sugar syrup or majr mint tste, just different . I complemented the chef on that drink.

May 01, 2005 4:26 AM  
Anonymous FaustianBargain said...

I have a recipe for elderflower 'champagne'. Elderberries lend themselves to endless variations/techniques than elderflowers. Elderberry chutney is also interesting as it combines onions, apples and elderberries. Of course, if it's a berry, then it has to be in a pie. It is the English way.

May 01, 2005 11:24 AM  
Anonymous Euroshopper said...

My in-laws, who hail from Sweden, have been making elderflower syrup or cordial for generations.

Deep frying the flowers after coating them in a light batter is also an old Swedish trick. Unlike many other things invented by Dr AdrĂ­a.

May 08, 2005 4:34 PM  
Anonymous Culinae said...

I also just discovered the joys of elderflowers. Summer's bounty will never cease to amaze me! After harvesting the flowers I spent the whole day trying out things in the kitchen, which I think culminated in a batch of chocolate truffles scented with rose, mint, and elderflowers. Needless to say, it was a very good day.

June 30, 2006 5:45 AM  

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