Elderflower is one is key scents of summer in the UK, and can be used in a variety of foraging recipes, including elderflower cordial, elderflower gin and elder shortbread.

This recipe involves frying the elderflower heads in a thin and crispy batter to make a dainty and delicious treat.

When can elderflower be picked?

Elderflower usually starts to bloom in late May and early June. When foraging, it's vital to only pick something if you're sure you've correctly identified it. The flowers are creamy-white and smell sweet, and the leaves have between five and seven leaflets with festery edges.

Elderflower in bloom at the end of June in Cumbria, UK. © Stephen Dorey/Getty
Elderflower in bloom at the end of June in Cumbria, UK. © Stephen Dorey/Getty

Can elderberries be used for any recipes?

As the season progresses into autumn, shiny berries form where the elderflowers once bloomed. They are ripe when they are very dark purple, almost black, in colour. Elderberries should be cooked before consuming, as they are mildly poisonous – causing nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Elderberries can be used to make elderberry wine, or combined with other berries for hedgerow ketchup.

Learn more about identifying wild fruits.

Ripe elderberries on a branch. © Kacege Photography/Getty
Ripe elderberries on a branch. © Kacege Photography/Getty


  • 15 Elderflower heads
  • 100g Plain flour
  • 2tbsp Oil, plus a pan of oil for frying
  • 175ml Sparkling water
  • Caster sugar, on a cold plate
  • Honey or ice cream to serve


  • STEP 1

    Cut the elderflower heads so there is enough stem to hold them by. Shake off any little bug, but don't rinse them. Sift the flour into a bowl and stir in the oil and water. Heat the pan of oil until it sizzles when you flick a tiny drop of water into it.

  • STEP 2

    Hold the elderflowers by their stems and dunk them into the batter mix, then push them headfirst into the oil. Fry for 1–2 minutes until batter is golden and crisp, then hold them first on some kitchen roll to soak the excess oil and then on the plate of caster sugar.

  • STEP 3

    Serve hot with ice cream or a drizzle of honey.

Daisy Oakley is a writer and dog walker from Devon, who loves crafting and spends far too many hours in her cottage kitchen, making jam or experimenting with new recipes. She enjoys long walks in the countryside near her home and is constantly inspired by the rugged Devonshire landscape.

This is an extract from Cottagecore by Daisy Oakley, published by Summersdale, £12.99.

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Main image: Elderflower fritters on a tray. © Debby Lewis-Harrison/Getty


Daisy OakleyWriter, dog walker and craft lover

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