Pick your elderflowers on a calm, sunny day when the buds are freshly open, before the petals brown around the edges. This is when they’re most flavoursome. Lightly shake them to release any small insects, then snip off the larger stalks. You’ll need 12-16 flower heads for this recipe (adapted from Nigel Slater’s recipe).
Sift 100g of plain flour into a basin then add 2 tablespoons of oil and 175ml of sparkling mineral water. Beat to a thick paste, then stir in a tablespoon of unrefined sugar (or maple syrup/brown rice syrup). Set aside for 30 minutes. Just before frying the elderflowers, beat an egg white and fold it into the batter (for a vegan option, omit the egg white and add 1tsp baking powder to the batter along with an extra 125ml or so of sparkling water).
Get a pan of oil hot then dip the elderflowers into the batter and lower them into the oil (you can test the temperature of the oil with a cube of bread – it should go golden in seconds). Hold the fritters under the oil by pushing down on the stem. Fry until the batter is pale gold and crisp. Let the fritters rest for a second or two on kitchen paper to soak up any oil. Eat immediately, as they lose their crispness quickly.
Serving options: these fritters have a delicate flavour, and are delicious with a piquant fruity accompaniment. Gooseberry fool or puree is perfect. Or sprinkle very lightly with elderflower cordial at the table.