Things do do with elderberries

 BECAREFUL when collecting elderberries read this post first 

It's suddenly Elderberry time here. The Elderberries are   getting  darker and weighing down their branches. I thought it was a little early, as they are still quite small, but this year they are already shrivelling and dropping from the trees.They were more juicy and inviting last year, but I didn't take advantage of them.

I decided to take action this year. Today I collected a  full bag.
They are washed, dried and now frozen. If you freeze them, they drop off the clusters easily.
 Freezing also improves the flavour(so they say) . I'm looking through a few ideas..........
The problem is what to make?

Looking through my pinterest board for Elder, there are quite a few choices.
I'm going to list  my top picks here, hoping they will be inspiring for others looking for ideas;

So much choice and I'm sure there are many more recipes.
What shall I CHOOSE?

Elderberry Cordial

 @ http://girlinterruptedeating.wordpress.com


Elderberry Balsamic Vinegar



Elderberry Syrup



Spiced Elderberry Syrup 


Elderberry Jam


Elderberry Cream Hearts




Elderberry  Sherbert



Elderberry Tincture 


Elderberry Jelly


Elderberry Ice-cream



Elderberry Crostata

@ http://thebaldgourmet.com

Elderberry bread and butter pudding



Elderberry Sauce


Elderberry Liqueur


Elderberry Wine

@ http://homesteadingatredtailridge.blogspot.it


Elderberry Juice

  @ http://www.maryjanesfarm.org


Elderberry Pops



Elder Gin



Elderberry Chutney




Elderberry Dye 



Elderberry Sweets

 (in Dutch,but there is a translation gadget)

@    http://de-gulle-aarde.blogspot.nl




Clemetine Elderberry Scones

@ culturalcomments.blogspot.it

Please let me know if there is a recipe here that shouldn't be or if you know of one that should be.

Mountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony c


Chamomile Candies/Toffees/Sweets

Recently I collected some wild chamomile (matricaria chamomilla) near my home.It has a delicate scent.

I was interested to see this wild sea chamomile(anthemis maritima) in Minorca. It was growing very close to the sea and has a very strong scent. It is protected on some parts of the island, so I couldn't pick any.

I bought some Menorcan chamomile (Santolina chameyparissus)  while I was there (on the right). It's known as "Manzanilla de Mahon" on the island.
It's very strong, the shop assistant told me that seven  heads are enough for a cup of tisane. I usually use 1 or 2 teaspoonfuls of chamomile at home.
I also discovered that this "chamomile" is actually cotton lavender. It's  is ready for harvesting when the petals have withered and only the heads are collected.

Recipe for Chamomile Candies/Toffees

100g sugar
80g butter
50g honey
3 spoons of  strong chamomile tea
(I used 1 teaspoon of each type in a small glass)

Boil the ingredients together in a non -stick pan.
Boil gently for 15 minutes.
Keep stirring with a wooden spoon.
Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Becareful it takes a while to cool.

 I poured it into a glass bowl to speed up the cooling time.

When it's cool enough to handle form into sweet shapes and place on grease-proof paper.
Or you could pour into a small lined tray and cut into squares.

When set I wrapped the sweets in small squares of grease-proof paper.

A naughty treat!

It took me back to my childhood days. I remember making treacle toffee with my Gran.
She would boil it for less time and test to see if it was ready by dropping a bit into cold water.
I  loved breaking the finished product with the toffee- hammer. It caused havoc with my Grandad's false teeth.


Rock Samphire (Crithmum maritimum)

 I meant to post this a week ago!
Rock Samphire/Sea Fennel  grows abundantly all over the rocky coast line of Minorca. I'm not sure if the locals eat it or not, but I know that it's very popular on the nearby island of Mallorca.

Getting ready to flower

I first came across Rock Samphire about 16 years ago in a restaurant  overlooking the sea in Marchè, Italy.
It was pickled and served on the side of a delicious fresh fish dish. There was only a small quantity, but I remember it combined so well with the fish. My husband is from Marchè and explained that he grew up eating it (usually with fish or served in bread with a grilled sausage). It Italian it's name is Critmo, but in Marchè it's local name is "Spaccasassi or paccasassi" which means "stone breaker". It's now protected  in this area as it's become quite rare.

 Rock Samphire is a member of the Umbelliferae family of plants which includes fennel and carrots.
In fact, I tried a small raw leaf last year on the Greek island of Cephalonia ( where it also grows profusely) and recognised a strong  carrot-like aftertaste.

It was popular in England in the past , especially in Cornwall and Wales  and sold on the streets of London as "Crest Marine". It fell out of use in the 19th century due to over harvesting. It seems to have made a come-back recently and is served in trendy restaurants and can be bought quite easily.
When in the UK last year my Mum served it boiled with butter.
 I gathered some in Minorca, boiled it and served it with oil and lemon. My husband scoffed it, but the rest of the party hated it. The taste was very strong and clashed with the lemon. It needs to be harvested earlier (May) and is best pickled (in my opinion).

Here is the traditional recipe for rock samphire from Sirolo, Marchè.
Unfortunately I can't make it but if you live in a rocky coastal area with rock samphire and it isn't protected why not try it? Remember a small amount goes a long way...Serve with fish or in a sausage sandwich/roll.

Pickled Rock Samphire (Paccasassi)
Choose young, fresh leaves.
Wash and dry the leaves.
Place in pan and cover with 50% white wine and 50% vineger. Boil for 30 mins.
Drain and dry the leaves on a clean tea towel.
Place in clean, sterilised jars, press down and cover with olive oil.
Wait for 20 days to consume.
It will keep over winter.


Wild Elephant Garlic in Minorca (Allium ampeloprasum)

I haven't posted for over a week as I have been on holiday in Minorca(Menorca). How lucky am I?
 It was my first time in Minorca, but not in Spain. The island is beautiful, unspoilt and well organised. The locals are really friendly and the  climate while I was there was fantastic. Hot,dry and sunny during the day and fresh and breezy through the night. Sleeping was very easy.
Emilia Romagna (Italy) is too hot at the moment 38°, humid and sticky with  lots of tiger mosquitos.

 I visited lots of lovely beaches and was amazed by the wild plants and herbs growing all over the island.
I especially liked to see the wild elephant garlic growing along the coast. Apparently it grows all over Italy aswell, but I've never seen it here.
 I will definitely go back to Minorca, but  in Spring if possible.I'd like to go there on a walking holiday. The flora (and fauna) is  very interesting.

 This type of wild garlic is actually more closely related to the leek than garlic, it's sometimes called wild leek.
 Although the whole plant has a garlic aroma, the bulb which looks like ordinary garlic, has a very mild smell and taste. Elephant garlic has been described " as garlic for people who don't like garlic".

It was growing near all the beaches that I visited, along roads close to the coast and sometimes in gardens.

Here it's growing next to some dock and near some rock samphire.

The bulbs look just like garlic.
I brought two bulbs home with me and  this evening I made an "Alioli" type of sauce/mayonnaise.
Alioli is a Spanish sauce made with garlic, salt and olive oil and more recently  with egg yolks. It's easier to make with added egg yolks. Sometimes lemon juice or wine is added at the final stage.
I love alioli in Spain, but it's not for the faint-hearted.
A little goes a long way and is guaranteed to give you "garlic-breath".

Wild Elephant Alioli
(based on the original Catalan recipe)

2 bulbs wild elephant garlic
(or normal garlic or ramons)
1 tsp rock salt
Mild Extra Virgin Olive Oil (about half a cup)

Mix in a large pestle and mortar.
In Spain they have special ones for making alioli.I have one that my husband bought me in Barcelona.

Peel and slice the garlic


Put the salt into the mortar and add the peeled and sliced garlic.Pound with the pestle into it becomes almost liquid.

Next add a  trickle of oil, mixing briskly with the pestle in circular movements. Keep adding oil and  mixing constantly in the same direction (don't change direction). If someone can help add the oil very slowly it's easier, but I managed on my own. The oil must be at room temperature. Keep adding the oil until the garlic doesn't absorb any more. It will gradually become thicker. My husband tried to make it with normal garlic a while ago, but it didn't happen. The trick is adding the oil gradually and mixing constantly. If it doesn't work you can always add an egg yolk or two and whisk.

The alioli should have a mayonnaise  like consistency and remain in the bowl if you turn it over. I didn't risk doing that, but it was pretty thick.

My alioli was very mild, but delicious with potatoes.
I won't have to worry about garlic-breath tomorrow.

It went down well with the whole family.
They  would have liked more.
I'm going to keep my eyes open for wild elephant garlic in Italy....

Wild Elephant Alioli on Punk