Eating Stumptown

Elderflower Syrup and Some Inspiration

I spent this weekend taking an online photography class with National Geographic and Saveur Magazine photographer, Penny De Los Santos. The way Penny looks at food photography (and life) has changed me for good. It isn’t just her amazing pictures, but her entire attitude about sharing a story through a photo – whether the story is of a person, a place, or even food – that is utterly inspiring. The idea of honoring someone’s life with a stunning and thoughtful photograph sounds so rewarding and heart-filling that I can only hope one day to capture a tenth of the emotion she portrays in her photos.

And to honor myself, I would love to take beautiful photos of my passion: food.

These are a “forager’s dozen” of elderflowers, an herbaceous flower used in syrups, liquors, and the occasional recipe. Common in Europe, we often buy the syrup to mix with sparkling water for a refreshing, slightly sweet and tastes-like-a-summer-field drink.

I didn’t know Oregon could grow elderflowers, but luckily this farmer had bunches of them at his stand.

And a recipe to make syrup… Lucky me!

The recipe is pretty simple, you take equal parts sugar and water (3/4 a cup of each for one bunch of elderflower), bring to a boil, then take off the heat and throw in the flower portion of the elderflower plants. After it all cools, drain it and you have this delicious syrup to add to sparkling water, champagne, or any cocktail you can dream up.

I am feeling renewed after an inspiring weekend and hope that everyone out there finds something that lights a fire under you.

7 comments
  1. Terri says: May 17, 201111:21 am

    These are really beautiful photos. I also enjoyed the online workshop and was sorry to see if come to an end.
    Terri recently posted..Just Monday

  2. elizabeth-flourish in progress says: May 17, 20113:09 pm

    I just recently had my first cocktail with elderflower. It was delish. ….and now I know exactly what I’ll be doing this evening.
    elizabeth-flourish in progress recently posted..Monday Dare- I may be going to school with your kids Be scared

  3. Heather says: May 17, 201111:38 pm

    Oooh, thanks for the recipe. I hope I can find some elderflower to try it. I also watched the course and loved every bit of it. I think Penny has quite a big fan club now! :)

  4. Mary Sue says: May 18, 20117:02 am

    Hi Elizabeth. I really like how herbal it tastes and have just been waiting to find a good cocktail to put it in! I think maybe champagne and gin? I will let you know if I find a good recipe…

  5. Mary Sue says: May 18, 20117:06 am

    Hi Terri. I wish I could take the class every weekend. I would be a much better person if I was constantly inspired by someone like Penny!

  6. Mary Sue says: May 18, 20117:08 am

    You might be able to find Elderflower in your Farmer’s Market – or make a drink out of other edible flowers? There are so many options! (And, I do think Penny has the biggest fan club now!)

  7. Brynn says: May 20, 20113:44 pm

    I just had a cocktail with elderflower too. There is a distillery here called High West who makes a steel barrel whiskey. Im not a whiskey fan, but this is very different… it is clear and not aged in wood barrels. It is light and fresh and, like vodka, takes on whatever you mix it with. a blank slate. Very tasty with elderflower if you can find it!

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