In late spring to early summer, elderflowers are in bloom. This time of year seems magical to me, right at the crux of the summer solstice! The creamy blossoms don’t last long, and I always feel the need to do something with them. Elderflowers are both edible and medicinal, so there are many choices on how to proceed. This time around I felt the pull to make healthy elderflower muffins that are made with honey, probably because my toddler is all about muffins right now!
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A New Way to Harvest Elderflowers
This is actually really exciting! I think I figured out a way to harvest individual elderflowers while still leaving the flower head on the shrub to form berries.
I’m not going to go so far as to say that I discovered this method, but it’s not something I’ve ever seen before!
I noticed that after the elderflowers had been blooming for a while, the little white flowers would come off very easily. Many were even dropping to the ground or getting blown by the wind.
So I rubbed the flower between my fingers and the individual little while flowers fell right off. If you look closely you can see that the very beginning of berries are forming.
I collected a little bowlful of elderflowers to make these muffins. It didn’t take long at all and was much less tedious than trying to cut off all of the little flowers with scissors!
Plus you don’t get any of the toxic stem this way! The raw stems, leaves, and unripe berries contain a toxic compound that can be harmful when consumed in large amounts, so they are best avoided.
I wish I would have known about this method when I made elderflower liqueur last summer and elderflower sparkling mead the summer before!
Related: Foraging for Elderberries and Elderflowers
Elderflower Muffins made with Honey & Sourdough Starter
These muffins are so delicious, I know that you will love them! They are made with honey as the sweetener and are not overly sweet at all. They have the same sweetness level as a lightly sweetened cornbread or biscuit and I think they are just perfect.
If you want a sweeter muffin you can add a tad more honey (not too much or it will throw the recipe off) or even a bit of real sugar. You can also spread some honey or jam on the muffins before eating to sweeten them up (this strawberry honey butter would be perfect).
You could top them with this amazing sounding vanilla honey buttercream frosting to make them extra special!
If you have a sourdough starter you can use that in this recipe to give them a bit of healthy sourdough goodness. But if you don’t have any on hand you can use more yogurt instead.
Elderflower Honey Muffins Recipe
To make the muffins, first combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl.
In a larger bowl, whisk together the honey, yogurt, sourdough starter (if using), eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla until smooth. Then whisk in the melted butter.
Add the dry ingredients and the elderflowers to the wet ingredients and gently fold it all together, being careful to not overmix.
Divide the muffin batter evenly into a buttered muffin tin. You can sprinkle a few more elderflowers on top before baking if you wish!
Bake at 350°F for about 20-22 minutes, or until they are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Top with a few more fresh elderflowers before serving to make them extra pretty!
These elderflower muffins are so good, they are a new favorite around here! The best part is that I know they are healthy, being relatively low in sugar, and with the addition of sourdough.
Even without the sourdough they are much better than traditional, overly sweet muffins! My toddler loves these and I feel good about serving them to my family for breakfast, a snack, or even as a dinner side!
If you want another tasty and healthy muffin recipe, these gluten free and paleo dandelion root muffins are also amazing!
If you don’t have access to fresh elderflowers or if they are out of season, you can definitely use dried elderflowers in this recipe!
I like to keep them on hand for many different uses, and my favorite place to get them is Mountain Rose Herbs. They are excellent in tea or bath and beauty products as well!
Want to do more with your elderflower harvest? Here are 20+ Elderflower Recipes for cordial, liqueur, tea, jelly, cake + more!
Elderflower Honey Muffins
- 2 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup whole milk yogurt
- 1/4 cup sourdough starter or whole milk yogurt
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup butter melted
- 2-4 tbsp fresh elderflowers or dried elderflowers
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a muffin tin with butter.
- In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the honey, yogurt, sourdough starter
(if using), eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla until smooth.
Then whisk in the melted butter.
- Add the dry ingredients and the elderflowers to the wet ingredients and
gently fold it all together, being careful to not overmix.
- Divide the muffin batter evenly into the buttered muffin tin. You can
sprinkle a few more elderflowers on top before baking if you'd like.
- Bake in preheated oven for about 20-22 minutes, or until they are golden brown
and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
- Top with a sprinkle of fresh elderflowers before serving, if desired.
You’re right that elderflower season is too short! Thank you for this lovely recipe! I’m going to go out for a walk after supper (it’s a good excuse!) and will gather elderflowers while I’m out, enough for a double batch of these muffins!
Grow Forage Cook Ferment says
Wonderful, Amy. Enjoy!
These are amazing!
I followed the recipe and added mulberries because we have a bunch.
How do you not eat them all in one sitting??
Should the starter be active or not? Meaning, should I take it out of the fridge and feed it and leave it out for a bit first before putting in this recipe?
Grow Forage Cook Ferment says
Hi, Melissa. The starter should be active.
Oh, my goodness, Colleen — that trick for getting blossoms off the plant is brilliant! I tried it this morning and it was such a time-saver, a big relief after hours spent in the last few weeks painstakingly removing blossoms for tinctures and cordials. I look forward to watching berries form in the coming weeks. Adding your tip (and links to some of your wonderful recipes) to a post on elderflowers I’m working on now. Many thanks!
Colleen, these look AMAZING! And, really, just darling. ;-) I have some dried elderflowers from Mountain Rose Herbs, so I want to give them a try. I have a question about the ingredients… You list:
1/2 cup whole milk yogurt
1/4 cup sourdough starter or whole milk yogurt
So, is that 3/4 cup whole milk yogurt if we don’t use the sourdough starter? Or, is it okay to skip that line altogether?
Grow Forage Cook Ferment says
Hi Beth! If you aren’t going to use the sourdough starter then you should use the extra 1/4 cup of yogurt, making it 3/4 cup total. Hope that makes sense and I hope you love the recipe!
Carolyn Leadley says
I can’t do dairy but have plenty of sourdough starter. would it work to switch them in reverse…aka 3/4 cup of starter to replace the yogurt?