Quick get out to the hedgerows and gather the last of the elderflowers, they are already beginning to fade. Whatever you do don't let the summer pass without harnessing some of this exceptional resource. The elderflower is such a fantastic bonus to the smallholder or anybody with access to the plant. It's so versatile in it's use; we've made a mountain of elderflower cordial and also a small batch of precious elderflower champagne. Another favourite of mine and one use I've not seen described on other blogs is elderflower pancakes. If you wish to delight your children, impress your other half and treat yourself all at once why not give it a go? The secret to anything made with elderflowers is to pick them on a hot sunny day (if at all possible!). Identify the elder with the help of a knowledgeable friend and/or an excellent identification book, be sure the area has not been treated or sprayed.
Make a simple pancake batter, for example Mrs Beeton uses 1 egg, 250ml milk, one 15ml spoon caster sugar and100g plain flour to serve four. For those dairy or wheat free it works well with soya or corn flour substitutes too. Beat the milk and egg into the flour and sugar. Pour some batter onto a hot buttered pan and sprinkle roughly half an elderflower head into the cooking pancake, snipping or hand stripping the flowerletts off the green stalks. Flip it and cook the other side. Serve hot with honey and lemon juice. Enjoy.
If you've missed the flowers don't worry, soon the elderberries will be ready for jam and wine! In the meantime, for more excellent foraging recipes try Cooking Weeds by Vivien Weise.