Elderflower fritters, anyone? Ruby Taylor of Native Hands shows us how to make a delicious early summer delicacy in her May – June forage of the month.
Pick your elderflowers on a calm, sunny day, when the buds are freshly open, before the petals brown around the edges. This is when they’re most flavoursome. Lightly shake them to release any small insects, then snip off the larger stalk. You’ll need 12-16 flower heads for this recipe (adapted from Nigel Slater’s recipe).
Sift 100 g of plain flour into a basin then add 2 tablespoons of oil and 175 ml of sparkling mineral water. Beat to a thick paste, then stir in a tablespoon of unrefined sugar (or maple syrup/brown rice syrup). Set aside for 30 minutes. Just before frying the elderflowers, beat an egg white and fold it into the batter (for a vegan option, omit the egg white and add 1 tsp of baking powder to the batter along with an extra 125 ml or so of sparkling water).
Get a pan of oil hot, then dip the elderflowers into the batter and lower them into the oil (you can test the temperature of the oil with a cube of bread – it should go golden in seconds). Hold the fritters under the oil by pushing down on the stem. Fry until the batter is pale gold and crisp. Let the fritters rest for a second or two on kitchen paper to soak up any oil. Eat immediately, as they lose their crispness quickly.
These fritters have a delicate flavour and are delicious with a piquant fruity accompaniment. A gooseberry fool or puree is perfect, or sprinkle very lightly with elderflower cordial at the table.
About the author
Ruby Taylor of Native Hands has been a maker since she was knee-high, and a teacher for over 20 years. She runs popular courses in Wild Basketry and Wild Pottery using foraged materials in the woods. She has experience of a wide range of basketry techniques and also works as part of a team teaching ancient crafts and technologies.
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