RESPECT YOUR ELDERS – six things you might not know about Elderflowers
- The elder plant’s name comes from the Norse tree spirit Hyldemoer (or the ‘Elder Mother’), to whom the plant was considered sacred. In British and Scandinavian folklore, the Elder Mother was thought to be the guardian of the elder tree, and elder wood was thought to have magical properties.
- Elderflowers have been used for years in medicines around the world. They contain a variety of antioxidants (including vitamin C) and are often used to treat respiratory illnesses – from colds to sinusitis. They are also thought to contain antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.
- There are over 25 species of the elder plant around the world, with berries that vary in colour.
- The creamy white, five-petaled blossoms are clustered into upright flat-topped bunches known as umbels. These flowers are at their peak for foraging after the green buds have opened but before any brown discoloration develops.
- Their heavy sweet scent has aromas of fresh hay and mild anise notes.
As well as making delicious cordial, there are loads of things you can do with elderflowers, ranging from macarons and marmalade to elderflower hollandaise or even elderflower fritters. Belvoir regularly posts recipes on their social media so you can recreate them!