Foraging for Elderflowers

For most foragers, June is the beginning of the high season for locally sourced produce. Elderflower is the queen of all edible flowers in the UK and its sweet summery aroma is a sign that sunny days are here.

At the end of May and beginning of June, the tiny white flowers of the Elder tree are just beginning to open, you can easily spot their sprays of flowers on bushes and small trees in hedgerows, woodland and overgrown areas. 
The flowers of the elderflower have a creamy white colour and are in florets of hundreds of flowers. The leaves are positioned in pairs on opposite sides of the stem with one leaf on the tip. The leaves are feather shaped with serrated edges.

The leaves and twigs of this plant are inedible and the berries are also mildly toxic as well but once cooked the berries are fine to be consumed.

The blossoms are best collected on a sunny dry day and should be used as soon as possible once cut from the tree. If you want to wash them you can do but may lose some of the flavours. So, I usually just tap them slightly and hope some creepy crawlies find their way off. 

As with all foraging make sure you are 100% sure what you are collecting and have permission from the landowner and remember to leave some blossoms for the berries to develop, so you can collect the berries in late summer.


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