It’s lovely to walk down the hedgerows of a Chilterns woodland in the Spring. There is such an abundance of greenery, new growth springing up, and the colours and scent of beautiful flowers. And one of my favourite scents is that of the elder – it’s florets of white flowers, make them so distinctive.
It’s time, right now to go and forage a few, to make cordials or sparkling elderflower champagnes. But, one thing I love to make is elderflower fritters.
Gather elderflower florets
Grab your foraging basket, or something to gather the flowers in, making sure they can be placed within without damaging the delicate flowers. Pick the whole flowers, with the long green stalk still in place. The green stalks can be held when dipping the flowers into the batter and then into and out of the hot oil!
Look for the best ones, avoid those where the flowers have started to wilt or brown. Pick them carefully so the flowers stay attached to the stems.
Heat the oil
You can shallow fry the fritters – but, for best results, deep fry the flowers. I use a litre of sunflower oil (or other light cooking oil), put this in a deep pan and heat the oil over the campfire (other cooking appliances and stoves are available – but campfires are best!).
Test the temperature of the oil – perhaps with a flower, it should frizzle. It not leave it a little longer to heat up, but you don’t want it smoking. Take care not to spill the oil on the fire – it’s good to wear some fire gauntlets, just in case!
Make a light batter
Mix these ingredients together in a bowl with a spoon – the resultant batter should be the thickness of double cream (no, not after you have whipped it)!
- 150g flour (I used some strong bread flour because that’s what I had to hand)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 egg (a fresh egg or powdered egg)
- 100ml milk (skimmed works fine)
Make the elderflower fritters
Holding the stem of an elderflower, dip it into the batter, ensuring it gets an even coating and allow the surplus to run off back into the bowl. Carefully place into the hot oil – it should fizzle. Submerge the flower in the oil – best to use a large slotted spoon or a stick.
It’s great to watch them as the battered flower springs back into shape – great for the kids to see them cooking too!
Once golden brown, remove and sprinkle with a little sugar and share with friends immediately, repeat! By all means cook a few at a time, but adding too many will reduce the temperature of the oil and they won’t become crispy. So, one or two at a time is best.
Get outside and forage…
Elderflowers are at their best early June, so you haven’t got long left. Find a little time to get outside, find a hedgerow with elderflowers, pick a few and enjoy a few fritters. It would be fab to see your elderflower fritters – do share pictures with me on instagram/willisbushcraft – thanks!