Elderflowers or fiori di sambuco are in bloom in Italy! This flower from the elderberry tree makes a lovely light floral lemonade-like flavored syrup to be added to drinks (sparking water, vodka, gin or grappa), desserts or sorbets – depending on your mood. It makes an amazing vinegerette over salad or a delicate antipasti when lightly fried!
On a warm Spring afternoon we added Fried Elderflowers or fiori di sambuco fritti to the menu – these edible flowers when fried in a beer batter create a light, crunchy, aromatic antipasti/appetizer! Serve with the same beer you used in the batter, in our case, local craft beer from Apecchio’s Collessi Brewery. The flowers have a floral-lemony flavor that pair perfect with Prosecco as well.
Syrup of Elderflower
A jar stuffed full of elderflowers (nice big heads), gently shake off any insects & trim any excess branches/leaves
1 lt. of water
1 oz of lemon juice or 20 gr citric acid
1.5 kilo of sugar
Stuff a large jar with fresh picked elderflowers (pack them in!). Fill jar with water to the top.
Let sit for 24 hours.
Filter well the add the lemon juice or citric acid and sugar. Let sit in the sun for 3 days (shaking the jar every so often so the sugar doesn’t solidify at the bottom)
Then pour the liquid into clean sterilized glass bottles. Close them. Place in the refrigerator.
To serve, pour 1-3 tablespoons of the syrup into a pint glass and add water or seltzer. Or you can add a tablespoon to a couple shots of vodka or gin.
*It is very important to have all the ingredients as cold as possible, including: flour, bowl, whisk/whip, etc.
12-15 flowers (sambuco/elderflower or squash blossoms), it is important to keep the stem long to use it as a ‘stir-stick’ when frying.
bottle of beer (or seltzer water – but it won’t be as crispy)
sea salt (for sprinkling on top before you serve)
Add a couple of handfuls of cold flour to a cold bowl, with a cold whisk add cold beer steadily mixing until you develop a light thin batter without lumps that will coat a spoon. (Think of a thin crepe batter.) – Watch the video for an example.
Once at desired consistency, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for about an hour.
Heat oil to 350 F / 175 C – be sure to use a thermometer.
Clean your flowers. Elderflowers: give a little shake and check for bugs. Squash Blossoms: remove the pistil & stamen.
Dip the flower in the batter holding on to the stem. Allow access batter to drip off. While holding the stem of the flower, place in the hot oil in a slow swirling motion thru the oil. (This avoids clumping).
Fry for 20-30 seconds, until golden brown. Be sure to maintain the temperature of your oil.
Place on the fried flowers on brown paper and sprinkle with sea salt and serve immediately!
Organic Sambuco Juice (see recipe below): 100gr
Home made Sambuco syrup (see recipe below) 200g
Still water 500gr
Organic Lemon Juice 70gr
Pick a good bunch of sambuco flowers preferably in the morning and when the flowers are in full bloom. Gently clean them cutting away all the green parts. Put the flowers in a bowl and cover them with a 70% sugar syrup (prepared in advance and let it rest to cool) and 6/8 organic lemons cut in halves and gently squeezed. Cover the bowl with plastic film and keep it in the fridge or in a cool/dark place for at least 6 hours before filtering with a very thin sieve to remove any impurity. After bottling elderflower syrup can be stored in the freezer for up to six month.
Sambuco juice is made with the berries of the Sambucus Nigra species. As this tree is very similar to the poisonous Sambucus Ebulus (Ebbio in Italian) it is easier and safer to buy a good quality organic juice. If you want to produce it at home with the Sambucus Nigra berries, remember that they must be cooked because although less dangerous, raw berries are not edible, so cook the berries to the boil, mix them and sieve them to remove the seeds.
1. Refrigerate the elderflower syrup and the elderflower juice and when they are cold pour them together with all the other ingredients into a mixer
2. Mix the ingredients for a few seconds until the sugar is completely dissolved
3. Pour the mixture into the icecream machine and, according to the time recommended for a sorbet, let it go until it reaches a creamy and smooth texture.