These jaunty Independence Day colors seem appropriate for a July Fourth post—with a dash of green added to the red, white, and blue because we all know that true patriots are environmentalists trying to conserve the nation’s resources and wild places. Right?
The strawberries came from our garden, and Martha made the drop biscuits. My contribution was the elderflower bouquet. Though I picked it more than a week ago along the Wenatchee River near Leavenworth, there should still be some blue elderberry trees blooming in the upper canyons of Eastern Washington.
Elderflower is one of those special tastes of late spring and early summer, right up there with cherries and porcini mushrooms. I put up several pints of elderflower syrup each year to use in cordials and desserts year-round. Most recipes that rely on the singular flavor of elderflower fall back on a pre-made syrup, but while the flowers are in bloom you might as well do a direct infusion.
The dessert pictured is my friend Jon Rowley’s recipe for Strawberry Shortcake, which appeared in Edible Seattle a couple years ago. We took it one notch higher with Elderflower Whipped Cream (plus an ample sprinkling of those delicate, star-shaped florets). To make your own, just immerse a dozen or so flowerheads in a bowl with a pint or two of heavy cream, either overnight or all day. Make sure you remove as much of the stem as possible, since most of the elderberry tree is toxic. Cover with plastic wrap. The cream should be suitably floral after several hours of infusion. Strain (you’ll need to give the soggy flowers a good squeeze), add a spoonful of sugar, and whip just before serving.
Happy July Fourth everyone.