Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Foraging the neighborhood

I opened the paper today to find an article about a local blogger, Hank Shaw, featuring his new book: "Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast". Dig the title :). One of the recipes they shared was for Elderflower Liqueur. It is simple, right up my alley. As it is, I always have an ample amount of Vodka handy :).

I have been thinking about the elderflowers I discovered by chance last week, so I thought the article was a sign that I should go back TODAY. So I snatched up my not so excited kids, and very excited dog, and off we went. Of course, as were are driving, it begins to pour rain. One must understand, when I put my mind on making herbal medicine, there is no stopping me. We found lots of fresh flowers for the pickin', and headed back home, soaked to the bone.

Personally, I like soaking the flowers in the sink a bit, it makes the crawlies come out. I don't mind them so much when I am steeping in vodka, but I do mind them when I make fritters. You will loose some petals, but there will be plenty left.

Recipes follow:

Elderflower Fritters

Fritters, served with Mulberries from our park, and clotted cream made by accident when leaving out raw milk :).

16-20 heads of elder flower
1 3/4 cup of flour
1 egg
enough water to make a thinner batter. Think clotted cream, or thick joghurt consistancy.
1 generous shot of Grappa, or Amaretto :).

Heat up a oil, making sure you have at least 2 inches in the pan to dip. Dip the flower stalk into the batter, drip a bit, then submerge in oil, holding it by the stalk. Fry for about 30 seconds to a minute. Remove and drain, you can sprinkle with some fine sugar if you wish. Serve warm.

Elderflower Liqueur (from Hank Shaw)

10 to 20 elderflower heads, cleaned
Vodka or Grappa
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar

Snip flowers off stalk and put in quart size Mason jar. Cover completely with Vodka. Let stand 1 month. Strain, then add sugar :). Put back in pantry and shake it from time to time until sugar is dissolved. Then it is ready to drink. Simple, eh?

Enjoy foraging in your 'hood'!!


  1. I can totally picture you gathering in the rain! So healthy to forage wild, eat wild and live wild. I love that you do this-that you find it-even in the 'burbs!

  2. :)...only one child enjoyed this :). I am always amazed at the pockets of "wild space" we discover here. We are fortunate to have the river, and some of the parkland spaces nearby that are being preserved. So, even in the 'burbs, we can be WILD :).

  3. Went foraging along the river and collected lots of grape leaves. Pickled them for making dolmas later in the summer. Yum.

  4. Alison, that is a great idea! Last year, we went walking through all the wild grapes. The grapes are a bit "tangy", but the leaves...yum! I have some grapes in my back yard and used those last year, but this year they are not as prolific.