by Marta Szumiata
on October 3, 2019

Elderflower blossom, a truly royal flavor

The blossoms of elder(berry) has an incredibly savory aroma profile, resembling late spring mornings with a distinctive floral-fruity aroma and refreshing undertones of citrusy lemony and grass-like notes. Thanks to Prince Harry’s wedding cake, it’s also quite a princely ingredient.

If you have never used elderflower in your kitchen, it is about time to incorporate it into your menu. The season for the flower is almost over, but if you hurry up, you can grasp the last blossoms to infuse vinegar or some refreshing white wine, or prepare an aromatic cordial.

It is usually used in desserts to add a floral note to ice-cream, fruit purees, rice pudding; or to enriches cakes and icing. You can also immerse the whole flowers in a batter based on cider, coconut water, or beer and deep fry them in olive oil. Not only the flowers are used in cordials and liqueurs, such as the renowned St.-Germain—which is often mixed in cocktails—but it also performs exceptionally well in savory dishes. Thanks to our aroma analysis, you can see that many different non-obvious pairings are possible.

Aroma analysis

Floral rose-like scents with a nuance of fruit.

The most dominant aroma is floral which comes from particular compounds, namely cis-rose oxide (distinctive rose) and ß-damascenone (floral, rose notes with fruity undertones). The presence of 3-methyl-1-butanol additionally boosts the fruity flavor. The chemical composition provides links to summer fruit like raspberry, crowberry, apricot, lychee, and passion fruit. More surprising matches are Fourme d’Ambert cheese, bottarga, doenjang, kale, and dill.

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Refreshing undertone of citrusy lemony with grass-like notes

Thanks to its refreshing citrus, lemon-like, and grassy notes, elderflower can be confidently mixed with lamb, Gruyère, bilberries and lemon myrtle, resulting in delicious casseroles. Other pairing possibilities are Atlantic salmon, chard, cilantro, Buffalo Mozzarella and dry chocolate.

Season

Not only are the flowers and berries edible, but also the buds (just don’t eat the leaves, sticks, or roots—they’re poisonous). The buds appear first at the end of May-June before blossoming into aromatic flowers. By the end of August, the flowers have been turned into delicious, blue-black, sweet-tart berries. They possess a similar aroma profile as the flowers but with additional herbal and woody-pine notes. Elderberries are mostly used in jams or jellies, or processed into juice. Try to mix the berries with other fruits in pies or muffins for something different.

It’s too late to use the buds, these spring recipes on how to make your own capers will give you something to look forward to.

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Elderberry capers

  • 200 gr green, unripe elderberries
  • salt
  • 150 g white wine vinegar
  • 20 g sugar (can be more if you want them sweeter)
  • 50 g water

Pick the unripe berries and remove them from the stem. Wash thoroughly. Place the berries in a bowl and mix with salt so that each berry is covered. Leave for 3 to 5 days to cure. After curing, rinse the capers in cold water to remove the salt. Place in a sterilised jar. Bring the vinegar with the sugar and the water to a simmer. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the vinegar over the capers. Seal the jar and leave to cool. Place in the fridge to pickle for a further 3 week

Benefits for your health

Elderflower isn’t only delicious, but also healthy. It is the source of bioflavonoids (mainly flavones and flavonols). They exhibit many beneficial properties: antioxidant, antibacterial, and anticancer. It gives relief in allergies thanks to chlorogenic acids. Elderflower helps also in regulation of blood glucose. It’s a diuretic and has laxative attributes. Elderberries also have medicinal purposes. The berries can be transformed into a tea, syrup or infusion, serving as a natural remedy for colds, flu symptoms, or for certain allergies.

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