Upon returning from my travels, I found myself unemployed and pennyless. Moan about it I certainly did not! I thoroughly enjoyed my short stint of ‘funemploment.’ I have found creative ways to have fun for free and I’ve had lots of spare time to play in the kitchen. My interest in foraging has flourished during many rambling walks and runs through my favourite woods.
I’ve been really inspired by Ffyona Campbell’s book ‘The Hunter Gatherer Way’ I highly recommend that you give it a read if you can get your grubby mitts on a copy. Egged on by this amazing book, I’ve even been a wee bit brave and picked nettles (with the help of a buddy – and yes we got stung!) to make a beautiful nutrient rich dark green soup. One of the foraging highlights of the year for me (obviously apart from sloe berries) are always elderflowers. My grandma used to make elderflower champagne every year without fail. I love elderflowers so much. The cordial is great on its own and even better when mixed into a delicious summer evening cocktail (gin, elderflower, apple juice and lime).
If you’re new to foraging elderflowers are a good place to start. They are easy to identify, simple to prepare and delicious. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for follow this link for how to identify elderflowers. They are found in abundance at this time of year around the edges of woodlands and hedgerows. I have found many lining busy roads but I would not recommend picking these as they will be polluted from the traffic. As always when foraging, only take a little from each tree, never take all the flowers from a single tree as the tree will not be able to reproduce or create elderberries in the autumn which are a valuable food source for the birds.
Elderflower cordial is really cheap and easy to make, requiring little effort and makes fantastic gifts for everybody. Of course you can omit the citric acid if you don’t want to use it but it will shorten the shelf life significantly (you can find this in Wilkinsons and some chemists).
I used this recipe to make my cordial and it worked an absolute treat Homemade Elderflower Cordial.
Next on my elderflower agenda is elderflower wine, I’ll be sure to share my progress with you. I currently have a couple of batches of rhubarb wine on the go and I want to try elderflower next.
Questions for you…
- What have you been foraging for?
- What is the highlight of the foraging year for you?