Using Elderflower in Your Food and Drinks

Elderflowers bloom as the weather warms up, brightening up hedgerows and also offering culinary opportunities. The aromatic petals have a number of applications for anyone who is taking online cooking courses. Try a few of these ideas to bring a unique seasonal flavor to your beverages and dishes:

1. Make your own elderflower cordial
This soft drink is most common use for elderflower blossoms. While you can pick up a bottle at the store, it’s easy to make at home. Good Food offered directions that call for sugar, lemons, citric acid and 20 elderflower heads.

Heat the sugar in water until it dissolves. Bring the syrup to a boil before removing it from heat. Mix in the flowers, acid and lemon zest, cover and allow about a day for infusion. Then, strain the syrup with a colander and it’s ready for you to drink or use in recipes.

2. Add flavor to duck
An elderflower-based dressing can make a delicious topping for duck. Chef Lawrence Keogh provided the BBC with a recipe that begins by seasoning the duck breast with crushed peppercorns and salt. Warm a frying pan with vegetable oil. Sear the breast on either side before lowering the heat and cooking for about ten minutes, flipping once.

Prepare the dressing by simmering elderflower cordial with cherries in a saucepan. Let the liquid cool, and take out the cherries. Mix in cider vinegar, canola oil and salt before adding the cherries back in. Serve slices of duck atop a salad of red lettuce, lovage, mustard cress and elderflower petals with the dressing.

It pairs very well with citrus fruits like lemon, lime and grapefruit.

3. Deep fry a floral snack
In the Telegraph, chef Steve Parle presented a simple way to turn those flowers into a tasty snack. He recommended battering and deep-frying 16 elderflowers in sunflower oil. When the flowers are crisp, add a dusting of salt and sugar. Top them off with a mixture of olive oil and chopped red chili peppers.

4. Pair with berries
Why settle for just one seasonal flavor? Elderflower can be nicely combined with berries in a variety of ways. Delicious magazine suggested a version of the traditional English dessert, fruit fool.

Poach the gooseberries by placing them in a saucepan with elderberry cordial and sugar over a low heat. When the sugar dissolves, raise the heat and cook for about four minutes. Let the berries cool while combining cordial, lemon juice and heavy cream to make the fool. Place the gooseberries in glasses and pour in the fool.

5. Have a cake to go
Food & Wine gave directions for travel cakes that make prominent use of elderflower-flavored liqueur. A tablespoon of the liqueur goes into the cakes themselves along with almond paste, eggs, cornstarch, salt and butter. Another two and a half tablespoons are featured in the frosting as well as lime juice and grated lime zest.

Fresh elderflower is available for only a limited time, so take advantage of it while you can. Use what you learn from culinary academy courses to venture past the traditional cordial and try making this taste a part of several different dishes.

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