It has been said that ‘elderflower season’ defines British summertime. As the first flowers start to bloom, the country begins to experience some drier, milder weather and the climate changes only when the last berries have fallen. As soon as we see them in bloomit feels safe to declare “summer is here” even if the weather doesn’t always agree!
In the past, many believed that the elderflowers were completely poisonous which meant cooks were not able to take full advantage of their sweet, refreshing taste. Thankfully, it is now known that the berries and flowers are safe to eat and that poisonous chemicals are found only in the bark and leaves. Recently, elderflower has become particularly popular as a way of flavouring drinks.
Le Parfait has pulled out some of their most delicious recipes which will help home cooks take advantage of the plants found in hedgerows around the British countryside. You can do some preserving and savour the flavour when it is at its best. Le Parfait recommends this Elderflower Cordial (http://www.leparfait.com/recipe/elderflower-cordial-by-estelle-vincent_512), which can be stored in Le Parfait jars and added to prosecco or sparkling water for a thirst-quenching cocktail whatever the season. This White Peach and Elderflower jam (http://www.leparfait.com/recipe/white-peach-elderflower-jam-with-elderflower-cordial_514) makes for a delicious summer breakfast when spread on a slice of crusty sourdough bread.
Friends of Le Parfait, Cracking Good Food Cooking School (http://www.crackinggoodfood.org/) near Manchester are running an ‘Evening Elderflower Special’ on the 11th June 2014. The evening is designed for attendees to celebrate the medicinal and food uses of the plant. It begins with a guided foraging session in the local hedgerows with professional forager Jesper Launder. Everyone will then use their foraged produce to make their own elderflower cordial or elderflower champagne to take home in a Le Parfait jar. More details on the class can be seen online at http://www.crackinggoodfood.org/wild-food-foraging/upcoming-events/#foraging-11th-jun-14.
Also, have a look at the Metro today (10/06/14). You will find a piece by Emma Sturgess who tried out one of Jesper’s guided foraging sessions. Here’s a sneak peek of the article: