Yesterday on my lunch break fellow schemer and skater, Katie White, joined me in gathering elderflowers to attempt an elderflower liqueur.
As I mentioned in my latest Forager’s Report, I was totally surprised, and thrilled, when my mother pointed out that these bushes are all over Juneau! Again, just remember that hemlock (poisonous) has a very similar looking flower cluster, but the leaf pattern is totally different. Simply taking the time look up elder in your plant book should be enough for you to confidently pick these blossoms.
We’re using Hank Shaw’s method for elderflower liqueur, so I won’t have results for you until after the flowers are no longer available for collection.
I would highly recommend picking these blossoms with a partner. Elder bushes are lanky and I’m not sure how much I could’ve collected on my own. We each took turns pulling down the long branches while the other person snipped off the clusters of flowers with scissors. Talk about a ridiculously beautiful way to spend a sunny lunch time.
We then snipped off all the flower blossoms from the stalks, attempting to not take too much stem. We filled a quart jar with blossoms and dumped a fifth of everclear in. Now the jar sits on my counter for three weeks and will receive a shake a day.
Katie is my cocktail hero and I’m sure she’s already dreaming up cocktail concoctions for us to use once the cordial is finished.
Some of the other uses for elderflower that I’ve read about include throwing the blossoms in pancake batter and making sorbet.
My lilacs are in bloom right now as well and I’m sort of wondering if I have the time and energy to attempt candied lilacs or some other lilac experiment.
Collection: Easy with a buddy and SO pretty