“When gorse is out of bloom, kissing’s out of season”
There’s an increasing awareness of edible plants and flowers, and gorse is certainly no secret. It’s everywhere you look – on hedgerows, at the side the road, in fields and exposed coastal areas.
The bright yellow flowers have been used for centuries to flavour dishes. They’re edible raw (if you ever find yourself in need!) or, if you need a warming up, they can be made into subtle tea. If you want to make them last, just pickle the buds and use them like capers, or you can make a beautiful yellow dye from the flowers and roots. Not bad for one little bush!
Gorse flowers throughout the year, but spring, when every bush turns bright yellow, is the best time to pick. With a slight coconut aroma and the faint taste of bitter almonds, what better way to preserve the delicious flavour than with a simple-to-make Gorse flower cordial.
Pick the flowering buds by pinching them from their base whilst trying not to crush them. If you're not feeling brave, make sure to wear a pair of gardening gloves and lean into the prickly bushes with great caution.
Make sure you remove all twigs, spines or bugs from the gorse flowers before using.
Mix the water and sugar together in a medium saucepan and bring to boil for 10 minutes. Remove pan from the heat.
Pour the Gorse flowers over the sugar water, add the lemon juice and orange zest. Stir in well and leave overnight.
Strain the liquid through a piece of muslin and pour into a sterile bottle and store. Refrigerate once opened.
For all you cocktail lovers out there, add ice, a splash of gin or vodka, a slice of orange and top with sparkling water or soda.
Delightfully refreshing on a warm day and the perfect to savour spring. Enjoy!