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The magic of gorse

By March 21, 2014Food & Drink

Our Cornish coast is basking in a golden glow this week, though sadly it’s not always the sun producing this glorious gilded light for us to bask in.

No, it’s mostly the great golden gorse flower.

Foraging for gorse:

Harvesting gorse is a labour of love for the budding forager, as these flowery beauties are prickly little devils. But if you’re up for the challenge and can bare a few finger pricks, then they are a worthwhile bounty.

The magnificent yellow flowers have a wonderful coconutty scent and flavour which can be used like rosewater to flavour delicate desserts. Or it can even be used as a skin toner, mouthwash, decongestant or insect repellant. Here’s a simple guide to making gorse flower water:

Gorse flower water recipe:

  • Take a large pan and place a sturdy ramekin in the bottom.
  • Place a few handfuls of slightly bruised flower petals around the ramekin.
  • Put a heatproof bowl on top of the ramekin and fill the pan with boiling water, covering the petals, reaching the top of the ramekin and touching the bottom of the heatproof bowl.
  • Place a lid upside down on top and turn on the heat.
  • As the water comes to the boil, place ice cubes on the lid. This causes distillation as the water from the flowers rises, hits the cold lid and trickles back down into the bowl.

The water lasts up to 18 months, and is best kept in the fridge.

I have been encouraging our new cocktail barman to use some of this in his creations.

Ice cream is another way to make good use of the gorse flower, as is tea.

A simple gorse tea recipe:

  • Place two tablespoons of gorse flowers into a mug. Make sure they are insect free – gorse does tend to attract tiny little black bugs, so pick through them well.
  • Bruise the petals up, then pour in some boiling water.
  • Infuse for around 8-10 minutes, then strain.
  • The tea can be sweetened with agave syrup, or honey.

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