Used a lot less than Elderflower this gorgeous plant with its distinctive honey and vanilla scent is well worth searching out. Look out for Meadowsweet growing along field edges, canal sides and in damp areas. It is flowering now and will continue until late summer.
You can use it to flavour all sorts of milky desserts from custards to panna cotta, rice pudding or ice cream. Here we have a recipe for a delicious fudge. There are identification notes below and some photos from the 22nd June foraging day and the late June wildfood weekend.
Pick your Meadowsweet when it has just come out and the flowers are fresh. This will give you the richest honey like scent. If you keep the stems on you can stir the fudge with the Meadowsweet and take it out when there is sufficient flavour.
- 600g Caster Sugar
- 30ml (2tbsp) Golden Syrup
- 200g Butter
- 200ml Double Cream
- 4 heads of Meadowsweet
Line a shallow baking tin approximately 15 x 25cm with cling film. Put the sugar, golden syrup, butter and cream in to a pan. Cook on medium heat stirring until the sugar is dissolved, now increase the heat and stir constantly until the mixture reaches 116 degrees C. Now stir the Meadowsweet flowers through the fudge tasting frequently until the fudge tastes nicely of the flowers. Remove the Meadowsweet and beat well with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes, until it becomes thick and creamy. Pour in to the lined tin and allow to set, mark in to squares and when cold cut with a sharp knife.
Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria
A perennial plant up to 1.5m tall. The leaf is made up of several pairs of dark green leaflets that have sharply toothed edges. At the end of the leaf rib three are fused together. Along the leaf there are also very tiny leaflets in opposite pairs. The leaves are coarse textured, slightly shiny on top and pale underneath. Leaf ribs and flowering stems are often coloured reddish. The flower is actually a mass of creamy coloured tiny flowers they usually reach about 1m tall, they have a distinctive scent of honey if mild or, if strong, like antiseptic! Flowering June – September.
The flowers smell distinctively of honey/vanilla as do the leaves when crushed.
To learn about foraging we have places available on one day foraging courses in August www.tastethewild.co.uk/courses or vouchers are available for future courses. www.tastethewild.co.uk/vouchers Follow the blog for the first notification of dates for next year.