Anna Greenland is a vegetable gardener and cook who is at the heart of the organic growing movement. The descendant of a long line of gardeners, Anna is on a crusade to engage more people with ‘grow your own’ and shares her passion for herbs, organic growing and cooking.
With the hedgerows in bloom with fresh elderflower, we asked Anna for some new ways of using this quintessentially English wild ingredient; something a little different to a classic cordial. As predicted, Anna rose to the challenge and shared two delicious recipes; elderflower infused honey and a delicious elderflower oxymel – a healthful combination of apple cider vinegar, honey and fresh elderflower.
SOME FORAGING NOTES FROM ANNA BEFORE YOU GET STARTED:
- Ensure you identify elderflower correctly. There are other white flowered hedgerow plants, so get yourself a good guide.
- Avoid picking by busy, polluted roads.
- Leave plenty of flowers for pollinators.
- Also leave flowers you can return to in autumn for elderberries – these are equally useful!.
ELDERFLOWER INFUSED HONEY
Elderflowers and honey are wonderful bedfellows. Slathered on toast or drizzled on pancakes and desserts, this is a tasty way to see in summer. I can’t stop sipping it from the spoon, and have to ration myself or it would all be gone in one sitting. The addition of roses (if you have them) elevates the flavour to another level.
An oxymel is an ancient type of herbal elixir or tonic which combines honey, raw apple cider vinegar and herbs. Oxymel comes from the latin ‘Oxymeli’ meaning acid and honey. Originally prescribed medicinally as a way to make unpalatable herbs easier to stomach, Hippocrates references their use in 400 BC.
Sip oxymels straight off the spoon, combine with salad dressings or fruity desserts. Add to warm water to start your morning, or mix like a cordial with sparkling water and ice for a refreshing summer tonic.