The Botanist.

Wild. Foraged. Distilled.

Foraged Island Botanicals
The first and only Islay dry gin


Edible flowers you can freeze - early spring

18th April 2017
by Liz Knight in Techniques.

At the core of my little preserving business are edible flowers; most of my products I make play host to flowers gathered in their prime, full of perfume & promise. After my cupboards got full [story here > ], I started filling my freezer with my finds & something magical happened. The flavours I had plucked months before hand came out of their deep freeze exactly as good, sometime even better as the moment I gathered them.

liz knight forager

Here are some favourite edible flowers for this time of year:

  • Mahonia (Oregon Grape)  – flowering from midwinter to mid spring, Mahonia  produces some of the first flowers of the year – the sour, perfumed flowers are used to make a lemonade like drink & their flavour infuses well in light syrups & alcohol. Delicious paired with earl grey tea, and apple.
  • Gorse Flowers flowering through late winter gorse flowers cope like pros with freezing – gather them on a warm sunny day to make the most of their earthy, honeyed coconut flavours. Gorse is a great bed fellow with Bramble buds & their tannin rich nutty flavours.
  • Rosemary flowers Rosemary flowers have sweet, woody flavours,  I pair them with birch sap & violet in a deeply flavoured jelly. They taste fantastic but thaw badly, so thaw them into a cool sugar syrup if you want to use the whole flower in a cocktail to prevent them breaking down.
  • Violets – woodland violets are peppery rather than perfumed like sweet violets, though all violets can be frozen. Stir frozen flowers into sugar syrup prior to use to retain their vivid fresh colour. For parma violet flavour use viola oderata – you can also use the leaf extract to flavour cream & syrups.
  • Primroses – Primroses taste buttery, sweet & slightly like apple. They stay vibrant & yellow, you can use them whole or crush them into flakes which suspend in drinks.
  • Ribes (Flowering currant) Tasting like a combination of sage, rose petals, thyme & currant, flowering currants are pink carriers of flavour. Their beautiful petals are hardy in the freezer & can be used as as a garnish when thawed. I blend them with slivers of angelica, pine tips & mint stalks.
  • Sweet Rocket / Honesty & kale flowers  Sweet members of the mustard family, these flowers cope with freezing & thawing well, adding floral flavours with bite to drinks. Perfect for muddling direct into a cocktail.

kale in flower

Visit Liz's "little preserving business" for more information, products and courses: Forage Fine Foods >



Richard and Mavis Retire

We enjoyed a very splendid cake last week, beautifully baked by Katie to mark the retirement of our botanical scientists Dr.

Read more

Carrot Family Bitters

There are members of the carrot family growing wild and in abundance that are potentially fatal - you must be able to tell apart the diff

Read more

Wormwood - A love affair & DIY Absinthe

A romance can last a few hours or a few decades. Short ones can burn so brightly that they forever brand themselves inside your soul.

Read more

Foraged Drinks
Nettled Tom Collins

Nettle is a great flavour for sweetness and nose-tickling freshness.

Read more

Hog Reviver

This is a basic corpse reviver number 2 but with hogweed seed tincture rather than absinthe, and finished with a hogweed seed garnish.

Read more

Islay Bramble

We wanted to make a bramble cockt

Read more

Our Foraging
How to Make Infused Gin

Our homemade rose petal-infused gin has been a hit as of late on the Laddieshop's Botanist tours, having been used in a couple of our

Read more

A Scratch Grenadine

Creating a substitute for grenadine from five common native plants of the season. Try it! Full recipe here.

Read more

Beginner's Cocktail Syrups

While a traditional gin and tonic tends to be my drink of choice, I do have much love for cocktails - so I was very excited to find out t

Read more


London Cocktail Week dinners at Sager + Wilde

After a recent trip to see us at the distillery on Islay and come out foraging, Chris Leach, head chef at Paradise Row, and Marcis Dzelza

Read more

Universal Works Present: Designability

Revolution is a catalyst for innovation: political, physical, intellectual and artistic.

Read more

Mistress Madness

Join our brand ambassador for South Africa, Caitlin Hill, for a range of cocktails at the Orphanage Cocktail Emporium on August 8th at 7p

Read more