Elder trees Sambucus nigra are common across Europe as well as much of the US and Canada. It can be found growing in parks and gardens, at the edge of forests and in hedgerows.
The flowers and berries of the elder tree grow in an umbrella like pattern and both can be used to make edible treats. The berries contain cyanide so must be cooked before they can be eaten. They can be used to make jams, baked good and elderflower cordial.
The small white flowers of the elder are in bloom around mid-May to June and have a sweet fragrance.
- Elderflowers 2 tbsp, fresh
- Butter 100g
- Granulated sugar 50g
- All-purpose flour 150g
David Hamilton is an avid forager, horticulturist and magazine journalist, writing for titles such as the Guardian, BBC Gardener's World, BBC Countryfile and Grow Your Own. He is also the author of numerous books, including the Wild Ruins series of travel books and the Self-Sufficient-ish Bible. He began teaching foraging courses in 2007 after years of experimenting with wild foods.
This is a recipe from Family Foraging, published by White Lion Publishing.