The sweet perfume of elderflowers coated in a thin tempura batter makes for an ethereal delight. This treat can be enjoyed for only three or four weeks in any year, so don't let it pass you by! Some tips:
- Harvest the elderflowers no less than an hour or so before you cook them.
- The flower head should ideally be picked in with most florets opened and the remainder still in bud.
- Don’t harvest on a rainy day as much of the nectar can be washed from the flowers.
- Serve with thick Greek yogurt or home-made vanilla ice-cream.
If you're interested in foraged foods, do take a look at our seasonal wild food recipes and upcoming foraging classes.
For the batter
- 200ml ice cold water
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 60g sifted plain white flour
- 30g cornflour
- 2-3 ice cubes
To make the batter
- Pour the ice cold water into a mixing bowl.
- Mix in the beaten egg, add the flours and roughly fold in with a fork, do not beat, the batter should be lumpy!
- Add the ice cubes.
Prepare the elderflowers
- Shake any insects and lose florets from the heads.
- Cut heads into portions about 5cm across, leaving 2-3 cms of thin stalk to pick-up the fritters.
- Don’t wash the flowers as the water will make the hot oil spit.
Make the fritters
- Heat a lightly flavoured oil (sunflower, safflower) either in a wok or a frying pan with 1cm of oil. The oil is ready when a drop of batter bubbles and turns golden in 5-10 seconds. Don’t heat the oil further until it smokes.
- Holding the portions of flower heads by the stalk, gently wipe them through the batter so they are coated all over. Touch on the side of the bowl to remove excess.
- Drop gently into the oil. Moving quickly, but calmly, place a few portions in the oil. Take care they don’t touch or they may stick in a mass.
- Remove when golden and crisp.
- If using the shallow frying method, turn the portions over after 30 secs or when they are golden.
- Remove from the oil and drain on paper towel.
- Serve when still hot or at least warm.