For me, a true sign that summer has arrived is when the sweet- smelling elder is in flower. It’s flat topped clusters of beautiful, tiny, creamy-white flowers appear this month and it’s no wonder they attract swarms of insects and that legend says the tree spirits must be asked if you ever wish to cut an elder tree down.
Elder’s fragrant flowers are well known for making refreshing summer cordial and champagne but less known for fritters and perfectly simple pancakes. Although very slightly toxic when eaten raw, once cooked the flowers are completely edible. Why not try delicious summertime elder pancakes?
Simply pick a few elderflowers, shake off any insects and give them a very quick rinse and, along with your basic pancake batter, you’re ready to go.
I love to make my elderflower pancakes on a camping stove out of doors. As soon as your pancake mixture is in the pan scatter with flower heads. (I discard the thicker flower stalks as they can be tough). Once the pancake is ready, flip it over and cook the side covered with the flowers. You’ll find that the heat crisps the flowers and caramelises the sugars in the nectar.
Serve hot with perhaps a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of cream. Fantastic!
Helen Howes June 2019
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
This article has been written by our lovely friend Helen, a Sustainability Consultant and Forest School Practitioner with over 30 years experience working with learners from preschooler to adult.
Helen is in her element making woodland cocktails and mud pies with both young and old, is an inspirational Forest School Leader and Outdoor Educator, and has received much positive feedback for the quality of the learning she initiates.
She will be sharing more of her favourite outdoor activities in this month-by-month blog titled “From the Forest”.