I was convinced I would miss the Elderflower season this year. I’ve just returned from travelling round Italy for a week and on my departure from the UK the elderflowers were already in full bloom, In Italy the elder was beginning to turn to berries. I’d tried not to think about them too much for fear of disappointment. Today I drove past a quiet little hedgerow that I know to have an amass of elder. I allowed myself a quick look to see if there were any left and was delighted to find that these lacey white flowers are in full bloom still. Armed with scissors and a basket I was just a few snips away from my hoard.
In a bid to eek out the elderflower season a little longer I decided upon a delightfully simple way to preserve the heady, floral fragrance of elderflower. If you fancy a little elderflower foraging yourself then go quickly as the season is almost at an end!
A few notes on picking elderflowers, go early in the morning on a dry day before the bugs start to decend and the flowers loose their scent as the day wears on. Elderflowers growing alongside busy roads will take on the roadside fumes, so try and track down elder growing on quiet country roads or public footpaths. And my top foraging tip, always pick above waist (dog wee) height.
Elderflower sugar Ingredients
- 250g caster or granulated sugar
- 3-4 heads of elderflower
To prepare the elderflower, shake the heads to remove any bugs then wash well in cold water and allow to dry completely. Remove the flowers from the stalks and mix together with the sugar. The sugar will last for a couple of months if stored in an airtight container. Before using, run the sugar through a fine sieve to remove the flowers.
Elderflower sugar is perfect for baking with, consider cherry and elderflower loaf cakes or lemon and elderflower syrups into gin based cocktails, all summer long.