The fields are full of meadowsweet (mjødurt) in full bloom, filling the air with the sweet scent of floral almonds. The creamy-white cluster of flowers atop tall stems nestle in among the green grasses and wildflowers, creating a beautiful sight for the eyes.
Meadowsweet is an incredible plant with many culinary uses and health benefits. As the name “mjødurt” and “mead wort” implies, it was commonly used for flavoring mead (mjød) and beer. It contains salicylic acid, from which aspirin is derived, and was used to cure headaches. After aspirin became widely produced, the use of meadowsweet as a way to cure headaches become less used. It is said that a tea of meadowsweet can cure a headache and reduce acid indigestion, heartburn and stomach ulcers.
One of the more traditional ways to enjoy this wild edible is to make meadowsweet cordial and serve it as a cool, summer drink. Lemons are added with the meadow blossoms to infuse for a couple of days, before being strained and resulting in a golden nectar. The taste is floral with a hint of almonds, a real taste of summer.
When thinking about ways to use meadowsweet, consider elderflower and its uses but with a punch of aromatic, almond tones. As with any wild edible, you need to be 100% percent sure that you have identified the correct plant. As meadowsweet contains salicylic acid, if you are sensitive to aspirin then refrain from using it. Meadowsweet also has a slight blood thinning effect when taken in large doses, so caution is advised if taking blood thinners. Those who are pregnant and have asthma should also refrain from digesting meadowsweet.
Meadowsweet Cordial (mjødurtsaft)
Makes 2 ½ liters
- 6 ¼ cups (1 ½ liters) water
- 7 ½ cups (1 ½ kg) granulated sugar
- 4 lemons
- 50 meadowsweet blossoms in full bloom
In a large saucepan, heat the water, sugar, and juice of two lemons over medium-high heat until the sugar is fully dissolved. Slice the remaining two lemons, place the slices in a clean, large glass jar or large bowl with the meadowsweet blossoms, then pour in the syrup and cool to room temperature. Cover and place in the refrigerator to infuse for 2 to 5 days. I find 3 days is sufficient.
Place a muslin cloth over a large jar or bowl and slowly pour the infused cordial to strain. The muslin cloth will help to catch any bugs and debris from the blossoms.
Serve the cordial with a 1:5 ratio of water (mineral or sparkling) to cordial. You can also add it to cocktails.
Store in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks. You can also freeze some immediately in plastic bottles, leaving a bit of space at the top before closing the lid to allow for the liquid to expand while freezing.
*For more wild edible recipes, check out my Spring Foraging Guide.