Learn why to use delicious elderflowers in recipes and how to reap the health benefits such as immune boosting and alleviating upper respiratory infections.
Every spring I get super excited (just ask my husband …).
All of a sudden, all I am seeing are elderflowers. Because they are popping up everywhere here in Northern California. But it’s almost as if I have an obsession with them.
At this point, I am nurturing a small elderberry bush along so that we have one in our garden.
A healthy one that is (pun intended). Elderflowers have so many health benefits that I want to share them with you!
What are Elderflowers?
Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of elderflowers before. Or you might have. As in St. Germain elderflower liqueur.
The common elderberry is a shrub or bush native to North America (Sambucus Nigra). These flowers turn into black berries later in the summer. Especially, in spring they can easily be identified by their white clusters of flowers.
They like to grow in part shade and in most soil conditions.
Why use elderflowers?
Elderflowers have traditionally been used by people all over the world.
They contain bioflavonoids that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-cancer properties.
Therefore, elderflowers are great for colds and flu, sinus infections, and other respiratory infections. This is in part due to their diaphoretic properties (warming the body).
They can alleviate some allergies and boost the immune system. Furthermore, they have diuretic and laxative properties.
The stems, leaves, and roots are mildly toxic. Don’t worry if you ingest a few. However, if you eat them in larger quantities, they might cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and even coma.
How to use them?
The simplest way to use elderflowers may be in teas. You can pick the clusters in the spring, and shake off the tiny flowers. They can either be used fresh or dried. Often people like to combine elderflowers with linden flowers and other herbs. This tea is perfect for when you’re dealing with a cold or sinus infection.
• 1 – 2 tsp fresh or dried elderflower petals
• 1 cup boiling water
Pour boiling water over the elderflowers and steep for 10 mins. If desired, you can add honey or your favorite sweetener.
Elderflowers have a delicious, delicate taste that adds a nice flavor to vinegar. Simply add 16 – 20 elderflower clusters to 2 cups of raw apple cider vinegar and let sit for at least 2 weeks.
This syrup can be used as a base for lemonades, cordials, or other summer drinks.
It is a simple syrup of sugar, elderflowers, lemons, citric acid, and water. You can find the full recipe for elderflowers syrup here.
We love using elderflowers in these fritters!
1 TBSP org, coconut palm sugar
1/2 cup milk of choice
1 cup flour (I used spelt)
a pinch of salt
16 elderflower clusters
oil for frying (I like avocado oil)
In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. Add milk and beer. Separate the eggs and add the egg yolks to the flour mixture. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold into the batter.
Heat enough oil for frying. Dip the elderflower clusters in the batter and fry them until golden brown. You can serve them plain or with your favorite sweetener (wouldn’t elderberry jam be fantastic here? or maple syrup).
Add elderflowers to your favorite recipes:
You can get very creative here! Elderflowers complement any recipe with lemon, mint, or vanilla.
So, you can toss a handful of elderflower petals into the batter for lemon muffins or a lemon cake.
If you’re making your own ice cream, you can toss them in there.
You can make syrup as a base for jello. Once you start using elderflowers in recipes, you’ll find more ways to use them!
You might also like to check out my recipe for elderberry jam!