You may already know about Elderflower fritters, even if you have never tried one. Did you realise that many other herb flowers can be used to make even more delicious fritters? Today I have been on the roof and in the park looking for suitable flowers and I was not disappointed. I gathered Lady’s mantle, Yarrow and Chive flowers from the roof and plucked Rose petals from pollinated wild Dog Rose flowers in the park. I also gathered a few Honeysuckle blooms and of course a handful of frothy Elderflower heads.
I must say that I think it a waste to make some flowers into fritters, some taste so wonderful, untouched in salads or deserts that I don’t think they need be tampered with. Others are a little bit messy and these are the ones I suggest you try in fritters. Elderflower and for instance, is rather an unusual mouthful in it’s raw form and Yarrow flowers are just too strong for my palate. Turned into fritters they become something quite different; Dandelion flowers resemble artichokes, Rose petals take on a slightly meaty texture, Yarrow becomes a savoury delight and Chives become mini onion baghees.
Here is my recipe for flower fritters, many others are available, often including beer, liquor, sugar and so on. Mine simply uses my Yorkshire Gran’s batter recipe (it makes the best Yorkshire puddings in the world by the way). It does not contain any sweetening or seasoning so you can add a little whatever you wish to the basic recipe. I do encourage you however to try a flower in the basic batter alone, at least once. This will allow you to appreciate the true flavour of that flower. Perhaps have some yoghurt and honey to hand for dipping.
Here are a few suggestions:
(Please follow the foraging rules and remember that some beautiful flowers are highly poisonous)
Dandelion Fritters – I suggest that you simply wash the flowers (with a little stalk still attached), dip them into a little flour (I prefer Chickpea flour), shake off the excess and then fry gently in a little Olive oil.
Elderflower – the sweet classic. Perhaps use a splash of rosewater and a teaspoon of sugar in the batter
Robinia pseudoacacia (Black Locust tree, False acacia) – I have not tried this, many American’s seem to like it. Don’t confuse with poisonous Laburnum!
Rose petals or Rose flowers – slightly astringent and fragrant. Wild and cultivated Roses are edible.
Ladies mantle – Much of the bitterness is lost in cooking
Mint – Dip sprigs of young mint in the batter. Great with chocolate sauce.
Mallow – Petals or whole flowers with a little stalk attached
Onion flowers on short stalks
Chive flowers on short stalks
Lime tree blossom
Yarrow – Strongly savoury
And many many more!
Basic batter recipe:
(Courtesy of Edith Shore)
- Break one egg into 3 tablespoons of plain flour.
- Mix the egg and flour thoroughly, using a fork.
- Add three tablespoons of milk (one tbsp at a time) whilst mixing with a metal spoon.
- Ensure everything is well combined.
- Beating well with the fork.
- Add a tiny drop of water.
- Whisk up well. You should now see plenty of trapped air bubbles in a smooth mixture.
- Cover and set aside to rest in fridge, for at least half an hour and preferably overnight.
- Just before using, whisk up again with the whisk or fork.
The dipping and frying process is very easy:
Simply dip one flower at a time into the batter.
Place in a small frying pan which contains about 1/2 cm of medium-hot Olive oil and or butter.
Several flowers can be cooked at once.
Keep a good eye on the pan and budge the fritters around a little with a wooden spoon.
When they are golden brown they should be cooked through and ready to serve with a little of your preference – honey, sugar, cream, yoghurt, chocolate sauce…