Elderberry flowers, one of spring’s loveliest treats, are out now on the desert. They will be appearing in the coming weeks in higher elevations. Look for them along washes or other places they will get some moisture. Elderberry flowers appear in bunches called a “cyme.” If left alone, in a few months they will turn into dark purple berries. My own elderberry bush is just a recently planted baby with only four flowers, so I begged some flowers from my friend Linda whose huge bush is about six years old. Even after I picked a colander full of flowers, they were plenty left to turn into berries.
Last spring Linda and I came up with some great ways to use elderberry flowers, also called elderblow. We began with ice cream. You can steep the flowers in the hot milk for the custard or just leave them in if you like ice cream with a little texture. Below is a photo of Linda making her custard. I added edible lavendar to the elderblow for my ice cream and strained all the flowers out. It was heavenly. It is easy to improvise or if you want the exact recipes for this and the other foods here, you can find them in my book Cooking the Wild Southwest
Elderflowers also make wonderful fritters. Make a light fritter batter and dip the flowers in by the stems. Fry in hot oil and dust with powdered sugar. These should be eaten immediately which shouldn’t be a problem if you have people around. They are delicious. (See photos of frying fitters and the finished ones below.)
- Elderflower fritters with powdered sugar.
If you have additional ways to use elderflowers or experience with them, please share in the comments section.