Elderflower Season

It is spring and with it Elderflower season.  Well, at least in the Southern Hemisphere.

I saw elderflowers growing on the side of the road last week and made some plans for the weekend.

Saturday came and on the way home from the Agricultural show, where we were oogling tractors, sheep wool, horses and getting some fairy floss (cotton candy) we picked some elderflower heads.  Within an hour of picking the heads, me and Gwennie were making Elderflower Champagne ( actually a non-alcoholic fizzy drink), Elderflower Cordial, Elderflower Liqueur and I even threw some elderflower tea in Andrews Homebrew Beer (should we call it ‘Elder Ale’?).

Tamara came running into our kitchen area smiling and exclaiming that it smelled just like Divoka Sarka. She was referring to the farm in the woods in Czech Republic where I first learned what to do with elderflowers. A new curiosity, of all things foraging, combined with very limited finances meant lots of elderflowers and nettles and wild garlic made it into my cooking pot. I am grateful for that time because necessity helped me get beyond my fears of pulling something wild out of the ground to prepare food for my family.  I am guessing it was good memories for Tamara because it was a smile and not a scream of terror she rushed in with.

Later in the day Gwennie did request battered elderflower heads like we did in Divoka Sarka. We will need to do this at least once before the flowers start becoming berries.

On Sunday, the picture was complete when I made Nettle soup with chicken stock, nettles, onions, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, silver beet, garlic, dandelion leaves, salt and pepper. Actually, wasn’t really following a recipe.  I was just putting in just about anything I could put my hands on.  I love cooking like that, especially when cooking involves scouting for weeds.  The nettles came from a friends garden after a vigorous weeding session. She doesn’t even like them.  She complains about them.  Poor misunderstood nettles.  I tell you nettles is so good for you, a real super-food.  Once cooked they don’t sting and have the most wonderful flavour.

All in all a great spring weekend in the country.