Wild flowers of Summer

Last Sunday we ran our first Edible wild flowers masterclass. It was a small but very enthusiastic group. We started the day with a forage around the woods collecting elderflowers, vetches, honeysuckle, white dead nettle, and rose petals. We looked at all the different ways to preserve the flowers and how to infuse the flavours into syrup, milk, alcohol etc. I brought in various flowers that dont grow in our wood and we used them in recipes too.

We cooked a delicoius lunch together which was enjoyed with a glass of 2011 elderflower wine.

  • Sweet Cicely and Piedmont peppers
  • Chive flower soda bread
  • Wild flower salad with goats cheese
  • Elderflower panna cotta with flower fritters

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Lunch was followed by an afternoon of jam and jelly making

Here are a couple of the recipes

Strawberry and Elderflower jam  – makes 4 jars

  • 4 Elderflower heads
  • 1kg fresh strawberries
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 kg jam sugar

Remove the main stalks from the elderflowers and tie them into a muslin or mesh bag. Wash the strawberries and put them in to a heavy based pan with the lemon juice and the bag of elderflowers. Heat for a few minutes to soften the fruit then add the sugar, stir until it reaches boiling point then boil for about 6 minutes until setting point is reached.

To test for the setting point place a teaspoon of jam on to a cold plate, leave a few seconds, push the jam with a finger, if the surface wrinkles, setting point has been reached.

Leave to cool for 10 minutes then remove the elderflowers and any film from the surface of the jam. Stir and pour into sterilised jars.

Rose petal jelly – Makes 2 jars                                                                                   

  • 2 good handfuls of well scented rose petals (we used Rosa rugosa – Japanese rose, petals)
  • 500ml  water
  • 500g sugar
  • 10g pectin (with sugar)
  • strained juice of  1 lemon

Put jars in the oven to sterilise. Mix half the sugar in a dry bowl with the pectin. Heat the water with other half of sugar until the sugar has dissolved.  Add the lemon juice, and mix. Pour the mixture onto the dry sugar and pectin whisking well to stop lumps forming. Pour back into the pan and bring to a rolling boil. While waiting for this you can chop your rose petals. Boil until setting point is reached. This will be when the temperature reaches approx 104 degrees c. Test for a set. You do this by putting a little of the jam onto a cold plate wait a moment for it to cool then push your finger through it. If the surface of the jam wrinkles setting point is reached. Now add the chopped rose petals, stir and put the lid on the pan. leave it for 2-3 minutes then stir. cover again wait another 2 minutes then stir and pour into jars.

 

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