Land of Fruits and Nuts – Preserving the Harvest – Day 3 – Elder

fresh elder flowers against a white backgroundSo, my third day of preserving the harvest at the Land of Fruits and Nuts found me too exhausted to think of canning. For the record, for the past two days, I’d been canning after the kiddos went to sleep, which meant that I was up pretty late. ┬áPlus, I had to tend to the garden in the morning. After that, I had to coach volleyball practice. Then I wandered about the property checking out what was blooming, what was about to bloom, etc. Also had to figure out if we were going to meet the fire clearance requirements or if we had more brush clearing to do.

So, instead of tackling a new canning project, I decided to take stock and look through my cookbooks to discover some new recipes. I also want to prep for a class I was taking the following day on Elderflowers as part of the Wildcrafted Medicine series launched by the fabulous Rebecca Altman and Emily Ho.

So first, checking out my cookbooks led to shopping on Amazon for new books on canning and preservation. I picked out several for Mother’s Day (as a hint to my husband) and will post as I try some of the recipes.

After that, I started reading the information on the Elderflowers class and making sure I was prepared. As I was researching proper identification, it dawned on me that we may have Elder trees at the Land of Fruits and Nuts. The flowers looked vaguely familiar, as if I had just walked by them. But I, quite mistakenly, thought that Elder trees (and flowers and berries) were limited to England, Scotland and the like. I associate Elder with Celtic traditions, priestesses, the Lady of the Lake and, of course, Harry Potter. The thought that I might have Elder trees had never even crossed my mind. And I was off and running down the hill to check it out.

Lo and behold, the Land of Fruits and Nuts has at least 7 mature Elder trees. Apparently, we have Mexican or Blue Elder, although looking at references there is some dispute as to the taxonomy. Oh well. Doesn’t matter much to me – we have loads of the flowers (which smell like summer and magic to me).

Elderflowers can be used to make herbal effusions, elder cordial and a host of other products. I can’t even tell you how excited I was to find so many mature trees present at the Land of Fruits and Nuts. Elderflowers are mysterious and magical to me – growing my own, harvesting them and making a medicinal elixir is an act of defiance against conventional medicine. Off to do some more research!

 

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