Summer's Sweet Perfume: Capturing Elderflowers' Fleeting Fragrance
I don’t recall when I realized that elderflowers could be eaten, but I remember that my introduction came in the form of fritters. The idea was to take a whole cluster of flowers, dip it in batter and fry. But the fragrance was what captivated me when I first harvested them—and battering and frying the flowers smothered it. So I left the flowers to ripen into elderberries for jelly and juice.
Several years later I encountered a recipe for elderflower syrup. The description included mention of that esoteric fragrance, and I knew I had to give it a try. I grabbed my scissors when I noticed the blooms mid-June and selectively snipped flower clusters in my neighborhood.
Try this syrup in soda water or sparkling wine. Or use it in mixed drinks with gin, vodka or rye whiskey, lemon juice and other fruit juices or mixers.