What Does Elderflower Taste Like? A Detailed Guide

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If you are a fan of trying different flavors of tea, I am sure you must have heard of variations with elderflower. But, if you have never tried elderflower and want to know what it tastes like, you have stumbled across the right article. Read this article to know what elderflower tastes like and much more about it!

Elderflower

Whenever elderflower is used in food, it gives out more of a scent than a flavor. However, that does not diminish the fact that elderflower does have a great flavor!

You can expect a floral flavor out of elderflower, just like any other edible flower. However, elderflower also has flavor notes which are fruity and tropical, along with a strong floral taste. 

A lot of you must have heard of the elderflower-flavored cake at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle. As you can see, this subtle floral-tasting ingredient is also preferred by royals! In the UK itself, elderflower is really popular and used to make various desserts, jams, pies, and some classic British teas! 

However, outside of the UK, elderflower has not really gained as much popularity as it deserves. So, if you are new to trying elderflower, it is actually quite understandable. But, I think it is always better to know the flavor of an ingredient beforehand.

This way, you would know what to expect out of it and will also leave out the disappointment. For that, this article will be your guide. Read till the end to know much more about elderflower than just its flavor. 

What Is An Elderflower? 

Before knowing the flavor of an ingredient, it is important to know what the ingredient actually is. Quite a lot of times, it happens that we try a new ingredient but have absolutely no idea about what it even is.

This can be the case with elderflower because, as I said earlier, elderflower is not really that well known or used commonly outside of the UK. But, there is no need to worry as this section covers everything about what elderflower actually is. 

Elderflowers are the flowers that grow on elder trees. These trees are mostly found in Europe and North America, with them being really widespread in the UK.

Elderflowers grow commonly during the months of May and June as a way to show spring has arrived. They should not be eaten raw as they can be toxic. 

Elderflowers are mostly white in color. They are shaped like a star and surrounded by green leaves all around. They are quite often used for medicinal purposes.

They are quite commonly used to treat issues like flu, common cold, sinuses, and nasal cavity inflammation. They are commonly used to make various culinary delights like desserts, teas, and even liqueurs! 

What Does Elderflower Taste Like? 

You all know that elderflower, as a culinary ingredient, has not really picked up as much outside of the United Kingdom. Some may even find the idea of adding flowers to food utterly ridiculous. But, don’t you think there must be something special about these little flowers?

I mean, why else would there be a royal cake made with elderflowers? So, let us discover what the flavor of elderflowers is like and what it is that makes them so special. 

Elderflowers have a floral and herby taste, just like other edible flowers. However, you cannot really compare the actual taste of elderflowers to flowers like roses or lavender.

Compared to them, elderflowers actually have a subtle floral flavor. So, it is a great option for those who like floral flavors but do not want them to be exponentially strong. 

The flavor of elderflowers is also often described by many as having subtle pear, lychee, and tropical tones. The flavor of elderflowers is not robust at all. For this reason, they do not really overpower the flavor of any recipe.

Moreover, they also complement certain other flavors really well. If you make a direct comparison with other edible flowers, elderflowers are subtle and also sweeter in taste. 

Does Elderflower Taste Good? 

Trying new ingredients, especially those that are not that common, can be a really tricky business. Sometimes, you may not even know what sort of flavors to expect. Even when you do know, there can be times when your expectations are not really met.

Eventually, the one question that comes to our minds is, does it even taste good? It would be difficult to decide this as not every flavor is liked by all people. But, there are some ways to answer this question. 

Elderflower has a floral taste which is herby and also sweet. Compared to other edible flowers, the flavor of elderflower is much more subtle and sweeter too. So, if you are a fan of floral flavors, you would definitely love the subtle taste of elderflowers.

But, in case you have never tasted edible flowers before, elderflowers may still taste great to you. This is because of the appealing sweet and subtle flavors present in elderflowers. 

Does Elderflower Taste Like Lychee? 

Lychee is a known fruit for most people in the world. It has a sweet taste with slightly floral and acidic undertones. The flavors create a balance that is quite appealing. You all know that elderflower has a subtle floral, herby and sweet taste. But does the flavor compare with that of lychee? Let us find out. 

Elderflowers do have certain flavor notes that are similar to that of lychee. As explained earlier, lychee also has sweet, acidic, and floral flavor notes.

Except for the acidic part, the other flavors are quite comparable with that of elderflower. So, many people do say that the flavor of elderflowers is quite similar to the flavor of lychee. 

Does Elderflower Taste Like Grapefruit? 

Grapefruit is also considered to be an elite variety of fruit. It is often served in course meals, and there are actually certain ways in which you can eat a grapefruit. Elderflower is also a higher quality ingredient, but are there any similarities in the flavors of these two? 

The simple answer to this question is no; elderflower does not taste anything like a grapefruit. Grapefruit has a citrus flavor, along with sweetness, sourness, and a little amount of bitterness.

In comparison, elderflower has a very subtle floral and sweet flavor, which is not at all sour or even bitter. 

Does Elderflower Taste Like Blueberries? 

Blueberries are a common form of berry popular almost everywhere in the world. Most people love the flavor of blueberries as it is a balance of sweetness and acidity.

Elderflowers, however, do not taste like blueberries. They have a characteristic floral flavor that you don’t really get out of eating blueberries. Elderberries, on the other hand, do have a slightly similar flavor to that of blueberries. 

What Does Elderflower Syrup Taste Like? 

Elderflower syrup is quite commonly used. In fact, most people, when they make desserts or cocktails with elderflower, do tend to use syrup. The syrup is quite simple as it is basically just simple syrup infused with elderflower. Let us see what exactly it tastes like. 

Elderflower syrup has a sweet taste coming from the sugar syrup. Other than the sweet flavor, you also get floral and citrus hints from the syrup. All in all, it creates a very good balance of flavors. 

What Does Elderflower Liqueur Taste Like? 

There is a famous liqueur made with elderflowers, known by the name St Germain. It is basically a combination of elderflower, citrus, and cane sugar. The flavor of this liqueur is like no other, which is basically what makes it so special. 

The flavor of elderflower liqueur is sweet, floral, and fragrant. It is not too strong and also has notes of citrus and pear. The fruity and slightly bitter taste of citrus works really well with floral elderflower, creating a great balance of flavors. 

What Does Elderflower Tea Taste Like? 

We all know that British people love their tea. In fact, for many, whether British or not, tea is almost an irreplaceable beverage. Elderflower tea is a very common beverage in the UK.

However, unfortunately, it has not really picked up as much at other places. So, what is it about this tea that makes it so loved? Let us have a look at its flavor. 

Elderflower tea has an earthy taste and is really refreshing. There are great floral flavor hints in elderflower tea. However, no flavor is extremely overpowering. Most flavors are just subdued.

The tea is also subtly sweet. Of course, you will get a really sweet-tasting tea only if you add extra sugar to it. However, if you have it as it is, the sweetness is very subdued. 

What Does Elderflower Tonic Taste Like? 

Certain drinks are almost incomplete without the addition of tonic water to them. Of course, you all must have guessed that I am talking about gin. Even certain premium vodkas, for that matter, taste divine if paired with a tonic.

Elderflower tonic is actually not that old a creation. But, it is still not as well known. So, in case you want to try a new flavor of tonic water, elderflower tonic should be the first choice. 

Tonic water is generally slightly bitter in flavor. The slight sweetness and floral flavor of elderflower pairs really well with the bitterness from the quinine in tonic water. This, in turn, creates a balanced flavor, with sweetness and bitterness and also some floral and earthy flavors. 

What Does Elderflower Wine Taste Like? 

All fans of Harry Potter would know what I am talking about when I mention elderflower wine. Yes, it is the same wine that Mrs. Weasley served at the Weasley family dinner prior to the 1994 Quidditch world cup.

Although, this wine is not just a part of fantasy! Elderflower wine is very common and made by a lot of people. 

There are different variations of elderflower wine. However, the most common way in which it is made is not actually with wine but with a number of different ingredients.

The wine has a subtle yet sharp aroma of elderflower, accompanied by a floral flavor. It also does have a very slight amount of bitterness to it. However, it is nowhere near the bitterness or pungent taste of other varieties of alcohol. 

What Does Elderflower Gin Taste Like? 

Gin has a very strong flavor of its own, thanks to the addition of juniper berries. Despite the strong flavor notes already present in gin, there are many flavored variations of gin available.

With gin and elderflower being common in the UK, of course, there would be an elderflower-flavored gin! So, is the subtle flavor of elderflower masked by the flavor of juniper berries? 

When you take a sip of elderflower gin, the first flavor that hits you will always be the sharp flavor of juniper berries. Juniper berries have a pine-like flavor, which is like no other.

After taking a few sips of the gin, you will get a mild and subtle flavor of floral elderflower. Overall, this creates a balance between the sharpness of juniper berries and the subtlety of elderflowers. 

What Does Elderflower Cake Taste Like? 

We have finally come to the talk of the town, elderflower cakes! This is the same cake that became a sensation when it was made for the royal wedding. Since then, this cake has just been booming everywhere. Let us discover what it tastes like and what it is that made it such a sensation. 

Elderflower cakes have a sweet and musky flavor. Unlike other floral cakes such as lavender or rose cake, the flavor of elderflower cake is not very strong.

The floral flavor is quite subtle. These floral flavors pair really well with citrus flavors. Hence, the choice of frosting for most elderflower cakes is always lemon frosting. 

What Does Elderflower Champagne Taste Like? 

Elderflower champagne is possibly one of the most elite drinks you could find. Combining two great ingredients together, elderflower champagne is liked by most who have tried it.

Made with elderflowers and champagne yeast, this drink is truly a great creation. But does it actually taste good and live up to the status created? Let’s see what its flavor is like. 

Elderflower champagne tastes exactly as it sounds. It has a subtle floral flavor from the elderflower, along with a little dryness from the champagne yeast. It is also a little sweet in flavor, with the closest flavor comparison being that of pear or lychee. 

Elderflower V/S Elderberry | What Is The Difference? 

Elderberries are actually quite common, sometimes even more than their flower counterparts. Both elderflowers and elderberries come from the same elder tree. So, many may think that they taste exactly the same or have the same properties. However, this is not necessarily true.

There are actually quite a lot of notable differences between elderflowers and elderberries. I have discussed some of the differences between these two, just to give you a clearer idea about the same. The differences between the two are based on a few parameters. 

1. Flavor

Although they come from the same tree, the flavors of these two are actually poles apart. Elderflowers have a subtle flavor that is mostly floral and sweet. Elderberries, on the other hand, just like other berries, have a combination of a sweet and tart flavor. 

2. Aroma

Both elderflower and elderberries have a subtly sweet aroma. However, the difference comes in when they are used for cooking. Elderflowers, due to their mild floral aroma, does lose some of it once cooked.

For this reason, elderflowers are used for cooking recipes where they are not subjected to high temperatures for a long time. Elderberries, on the other hand, have a sharper aroma that does not really dissipate once cooked. 

3. Uses

As elderflowers tend to lose their aroma and flavor more quickly, they are mostly used for recipes where they are not heated. For this reason, elderflowers make a great addition to cakes, some other desserts, and even drinks.

Elderberries are used mostly to make jams, as their flavor and aroma stay intact throughout the cooking process. 

4. Toxicity

Yes, toxicity is actually a huge parameter when it comes to these ingredients. Elderflowers are actually safe to eat raw in small amounts. Elderberries, on the other hand, should not be eaten raw under any circumstances. It is also recommended not to eat unripe or under-ripe elderberries as they can be highly toxic. 

How To Pick The Best Elderflower? 

With aromatic ingredients like elderflowers, it is quite important to pick them at the right time. If picked early, they won’t really have the flavor or aroma that you would expect out of them. In case they are picked too late, you will probably again face the same issue.

So, unlike other ingredients where you can pick them early and then wait for them to ripen, with elderflowers picking them at the perfect time is a must. Of course, there are syrups and flavorings of elderflower available in the market.

But, if you want the best and freshest taste, there is nothing like picking them right off the tree. So, to make it easier for everyone, I have shared some tips and parameters on how you can pick the best elderflowers out of elder trees.

This way, you can enjoy them when they are at their peak freshness. But do remember that the best time to pick fresh ones is always around the months of May and June

1. Smell Of The Elderflowers

Elderflowers should have a subtle floral aroma. In case they smell pungent in any way, it is honestly best not to pick them. Pungent elderflowers are probably not as fresh and will not give your food a good aroma. 

2. Color Of The Elderflowers

When elderflowers are at their best, they have some pollen on them. The pollen looks like pale yellow-colored dust. In case you don’t really find any pollen on the petals, it is best not to pick the elderflowers. 

3. Shape Of The Elderflower

With most varieties of flowers, it is usually very easy to tell if they are at their best or not. In case the buds of the elderflower are still unopened, they are not really ready.

So, it is best to wait a little while until you pick them up. Similarly, if the flowers are dry or wilted, they are past their prime and should not be picked. 

How To Store Elderflower Properly? 

Storage is an important aspect when it comes to any culinary ingredient. We all know that if something is not stored properly or the way it should be, there are more chances of the ingredient rotting more quickly.

Elderflowers, being a floral culinary ingredient, do need to be stored a little different as compared to other ingredients. Moreover, elderflower harvest only happens once a year, so it becomes even more integral to store them correctly.

It may sound intimidating, but it actually is very easy to store elderflowers. Let us take a look at how exactly you can store fresh elderflowers to make sure they remain fresh. 

1. Dry Them

As elderflower harvest happens only once a year, you cannot really expect to get a fresh elderflower in the month of December! So, the best way to preserve elderflowers is to dry the fresh ones. You can lay your elderflowers on a screen or a tray for several days in a cool and dark place.

This will ensure proper drying. As an alternative, if you have a dehydrator, you can dry them in it very quickly as compared to leaving them just like that. Once completely dry, store them in an airtight container. 

2. Store Them In The Refrigerator

With fresh elderflowers that are not dry, storing them in the refrigerator is usually suggested. This way, they will remain at an optimal temperature.

You can store fresh elderflowers in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks in a plastic container. If you add some citric or tartaric acid to them, they will easily stay fresh for 3-4 months. 

3. Store Them In The Freezer

Storing elderflowers in the freezer is also an option. However, this should not be done with dry or fresh elderflowers. Storing them as they are will completely ruin their flavor.

The best way to store them in the freezer, or just in general for a longer period of time, is to first make a cordial out of them. This cordial can further be used in whatever recipe you would like. 

What Are The Best Ways To Use Elderflowers? 

Elderflowers are not limited to the culinary world when it comes to their uses. They are, in fact, very commonly used for medicinal purposes too. But, for now, let me just tell you more about the culinary uses of elderflowers. This way, you can plan all your favorite tasty treats with elderflowers. 

  1. Tea- Elderflowers are quite often used to make tea. It is probably the easiest way to use elderflowers. All you need to do is pour boiling water over fresh or dried elderflowers and let it steep for 10 minutes or so. You can also add a spoonful of honey for some more flavor. 
  2. Cordial- A cordial is probably the best way to store elderflowers for a long period of time. To make a cordial, you need to boil the flowers, strain them and then make a simple syrup with the same water. This way, you can easily preserve them and use the cordial for various purposes. 
  3. Alcohol- Elderflower-flavored alcoholic drinks are simply divine. You can steep the flowers with alcohol of your choice, although vodka is the best option due to its neutral flavor. Once steeped for a few weeks, you can strain the elderflowers out and use the alcohol. 
  4. Desserts- Elderflower desserts are extremely easy to make! All you need to do is to use the cordial and add it to your favorite cakes, tarts, or pies. Try pairing the desserts with some lemon to get a contrasting yet soothing flavor experience. 

Health Benefits Of Elderflowers

As I had mentioned earlier, elderflower is not just limited to the culinary world. Elderflowers actually have a lot of compounds that make them great for our overall health and wellness.

So, for some who might not be as convinced to try elderflowers, you should take a look at the health benefits they have to offer. This, I am sure, will at least get you to think about trying elderflowers. 

1. Good For The Skin

Elderflowers are high in antioxidants. These antioxidants are said to be great for keeping the skin healthy. They are quite often used to reduce skin irritation. 

2. Anti-Inflammatory

Elderflowers, being high in antioxidants, also have anti-inflammatory properties. These properties are particularly great for seasonal allergies. 

3. Helps Manage Fevers

Elderflower tea, in particular, is great for managing symptoms of fever. In general, they help support a healthy immune system, which can reduce the symptoms of a fever. 

4. Helps Clear Sinuses

Just like managing symptoms of fever, elderflower is also great for clearing sinuses. A warm cup of elderflower tea is always recommended to reduce issues caused by sinuses. 

Nutritional Content Of Elderflower

If we talk about just the elderflower, there are barely any nutritional benefits or values that you may get out of it. The reason for this is that elderflowers are used in a very minute quantity in any recipe. So, it is difficult to determine the nutritional values.

However, most people prefer using elderflowers, at least for culinary purposes, in the form of elderflower cordial or syrup. So, to make it easier to understand what sort of nutritional values you can expect out of elderflowers, I have shared the nutritional information on elderflower cordial instead. Have a look! 

NutrientAmount (Serving size 2 tablespoons or 30 grams)
Calories90 kcal
Fats0 grams
Carbohydrates23 grams
Sugar23 grams
Fiber0 grams
Protein0 grams
Cholesterol0 grams
Sodium0 grams

Conclusion

Elderflowers are the flowers from elder trees. They mostly grow around May-June as a way to show the arrival of Spring. This is also the time when they are usually harvested. Elderflowers have a sweet and floral flavor, often compared to the flavors of pear and lychee. 

However, unlike other edible flowers like rose and lavender, elderflowers are not really strong in terms of aroma or flavor. Elderflowers grow mostly in Europe and some parts of North America. However, they are most commonly used in the United Kingdom. 

Elderflowers have quite a lot of culinary uses to them. Mostly, in places where they don’t naturally grow, elderflower cordial is used for culinary purposes. Elderflowers also have a lot of health benefits attached to them and are overall a great ingredient to use. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is an elderflower?

Elderflowers are the flowers that grow on elder trees. 

Where can you find elderflowers? 

Elderflowers mostly grow in Europe and some parts of North America. 

Where is elderflower used the most? 

Elderflowers are the most popular in the United Kingdom. 

What do elderflowers taste like? 

Elderflowers have a subtle floral and sweet taste. The flavor is also compared with the flavor of lychee and pear. 

Can you eat raw elderflowers?

It is advised not to eat elderflowers raw as they can be toxic. 

Are elderflowers the same as elderberries? 

Elderflowers and elderberries come from the same elder tree. However, one is the flower produced by the tree, whereas the other one is the fruit. 

Is elderflower good for health? 

Yes, elderflowers have a lot of health benefits. 

Are elderflowers good for health? 

Yes, elderflowers are commonly used to hydrate hair. 

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