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All Areas > Food & Drink > Wild Food Foraging

Author: Steven Hawley, Posted: Tuesday, 24th May 2016, 08:00

Elderflower Elderflower

“Old girl, give me some of thy wood and I will give thee some of mine when I grow into a tree.” Perhaps not the most imaginative rhyme ever and not exactly a promise I can see anyone being able to deliver on (unless biology lessons at school were way off the mark), but it was once often recited whenever a person needed to prune or cut down an elder. The Elder Mother was a mythical being, generally considered to be a witch, and the elder tree’s self appointed guardian. Should anyone dare take without asking, she would curse that person with bad luck.

Don’t take too many flowers

Whether you decide to recite the poem or not when harvesting elderflowers, make sure you don’t take too many if you want to come back later in the year for the berries. There are so many uses for elderflowers – most of which involve turning them into some form of beverage – that it’s worth looking online for some recipes. But I’m a simple soul and I don’t have a lot of space for fermenting more than one batch of anything per year. As a result, for a hassle free spring treat, I pick one or two flower heads and dip them in batter before lobbing them in the fryer until crispy. Serve with a light drizzle of honey and sit in the sunshine while eating. What better way to spend a lazy afternoon than having the tastes and smells of spring filling your senses and a cold beer dulling them.

If you’re not 100% sure that what you’re picking is safe for human consumption, don’t pick it. If you’re prone to food allergies, or pregnant, always seek medical advice before consuming anything foraged in the wild.

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