A.Summer is gradually here: At the edge of the forest, but also in sunny, sheltered places in the city, the delicate, fresh scent of elderflower has been wafting through the air in some places. From June to the beginning of July is the right time to collect the umbels with the tiny, cream-colored flowers and to aromatically preserve the summer days or simply to enjoy them straight away.
Elder flowers are best cut as whole, already fully blooming umbels on dry, sunny days, because rain washes off the pollen that carries the characteristic scent. When consumed raw they can cause stomach problems, but when cooked they can be used for much more than just lemonade. Elder flowers – and also the berries that ripen in autumn – contain vitamins and antioxidants and are said to have anti-inflammatory effects. In European Alpine medicine, elderflower has long been used as a home remedy for diabetes, inflammation or flu, and the cosmetics industry has also discovered it as a new miracle product for creams that also has a pleasant scent.
The syrup can be used in many ways
But also in the kitchen you can make a lot more from syrup, which you can get in every supermarket, and freshly collected flowers. The cones can be fried directly in the batter and served as a starter or sweetened dessert. And the syrup can also be used in many ways: to make marinades and salad vinaigrettes fresher, honey can easily be replaced with elderflower syrup.
To do this, one liter of water is boiled with one kilo of sugar to make syrup. Then knock out 15 to 20 flower umbels (washing can wash away the aroma) and pour half a sliced lemon and 25 grams of citric acid with the sugar syrup and leave to stand in a dark, cool place for three to four days. Then strain the mixture, bring to the boil briefly and pour it into clean bottles while still hot. The syrup can be stored in a cool and dark place for up to a year and can be used in a variety of ways.
A summer cake
The fresh taste of elderflower comes into its own as an aroma in desserts – like this cake with elderflower mascarpone and fresh strawberries.
For the dough, first 430 grams of cake flour – this is finer than regular flour and makes the dough more airy – and two heaped teaspoons of baking powder are mixed and set aside. In another bowl, 345 grams of soft butter are whipped creamy with 300 grams of fine sugar and half a teaspoon of sea salt. Little by little, first three whole eggs and then two additional egg whites and a pinch of fresh vanilla are added and whipped until frothy. Then alternately a total of 360 milliliters of buttermilk and the flour-baking powder mixture are added through a sieve and the mixture is stirred into a smooth dough. The dough is then spread over two greased cake tins and baked in a preheated oven at 175 degrees for about 25 minutes. At the end it is best to prick with a toothpick to check whether the dough is ready to bake.