Friday, September 28, 2012

Edible Flower Friday: Elderflower

Years ago I worked as a florist in the East Bay to help pay for incidentals in college. I was fortunate enough that my parents were willing and able to foot the bill for my tuition and my apartment during my five-year stay in Berkeley. But I needed to pay for my books and my groceries. So, I worked as a florist and in one of the computer labs on campus.

After classes all day and dealing with the incessant complaint that "the computer isn't doing what I want it to do", playing with flowers - and getting paid for it - was a treat. Though I don't do much with flowers other than the occasional holiday arrangements and centerpieces for tables on teachers' appreciation day, I do cook with them. So, I decided that I would highlight one edible flower on the last Friday of each month. Maybe it will inspire you to get out and cook with some blooms, too.

Meet the Elderflower...
photo and information from - click on 'elderflower' above

Most of the recipes that call for fresh elderflower hail from the United Kingdom or Scandinavia. So, I'm hazarding a guess that elderflowers don't grow here. I'll have to check that out. I did get a packet of dried elderflowers through the Monterey Bay Spice Company awhile back. It's time to get creative.

We've had elderflower in juiceboxes...and elderflower liqueur in champagne cocktails.

I've made mini elderflower cakes with bee pollen frosting.

Check out Steve Parle's piece in The Telegraph about the elderflower. Maybe I'll whip up his elderflower pannacotta tonight for dessert. And though I am decidedly anti-frying - and these would almost certainly have to be done with fresh elderflowers - I love the look of his deep-fried elderflowers with sugar, salt, and fresh chilli [sic]. Then there's the (small) collection of recipes on BBC's website, but most of those begin with an elderflower cordial. Perhaps that's the starting point for me.

Locally, Chef Jon of La Crème, just served a scoop of elderflower ice cream on our dessert plates during his delicious pop-up dinner.

I'm thinking about making an elderflower simple syrup for marshmallows! Stay tuned... and if you cook with elderflowers, I'd love to hear what you do with them.

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