Elderflower cured venison with lime and watermelon salsa

Elderflower cured venison

Summer is here and the elderflowers have been in bloom for a few weeks. They have a short season and I have been thinking of ways to use elderflowers for a savory dish.




I went to pick some just in time and came home with some beautifully fragrant flowers. I rinsed the flowers gently before brushing them to get rid of any small bugs that might come with them.

I went to The Black Pig Butchers and saw the first venison of the season. There was a lovely rack and I knew I had to buy it. usually I see more venison towards the autumn but some kinds, and especially Roe deer has a season that runs from April until October.


Venison has a mild gamy flavor. The meat is lean and I thought it could work well with elderflower.


Elderflower cured loin of venison

preparation time 5-10 minutes

cooking time 24 hours for curing, 15 minutes for cooking and 20 minutes+ for resting

oven 175C or 347F

serves 3-4


The Cure 

  • loin of venison, off the bone, about 400 gr or 14 oz
  • 1/2 dl or 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup or 1/4 cup demerara sugar
  • 3 elderflower bunches, flowers only


  • rapeseed oil (or vegetable oil)
  • butter
  • 2-3 sprigs of thyme
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled


  • 2 large clusters of elderflowers, the small clusters separated from the stem
  • groundnut oil for frying

The cure: mix the sugar, elderflowers and salt.


elderflower cure


Trim the venison if necessary or ask your butcher to do this for you.

Cover the venison and cling film tight.


venison and elderflower cure


Place a weight on the venison and keep in the fridge for 24 hours. Turn after 12 hours.

Rinse the venison and pat dry.

Heat oil and butter in a pan and add the venison. Sear the loin of venison so it is brown all around, this takes about 3 minutes.

When the venison is browned place the whole pan in the oven for 12 minutes. Take the venison out and let it rest for a minimum of 20 minutes under tin foil.


Whilst the venison is resting make the garnish. Prepare the small elderflower clusters and heat up the oil to 180C or 356F. I don’t have a deep fat fryer so I used a pan and a thermometer. Add the elderflowers and let them fry for a few seconds, until golden. Drain on kitchen towel.


deep fried elderflower


Lime and watermelon salsa

preparation time 10 minutes 

cooking time 0 minutes 

serves 3-4


  • 1/4 watermelon, cut in to cubes and de seeded
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 clove of garlic. crushed
  • 1 small handful of coriander, chopped fine
  • a little olive oil, about a tea spoon
  • a pinch of crushed chilli flakes
  • a pinch of sea salt, add just before serving

Mix all of the ingredients except the salt and set aside until you are ready to plate. Just before serving add a pinch of sea salt.


Slice the venison thinly and plate up with the deep fried elderflowers, lime and watermelon salsa. I also had some watercress purée, baby carrot and a cheesy potato rösti that I served with the venison.


Elderflower cured venison


Curing the meat adds a delicious flavor and the elderflower goes well with meat. I absolutely loved the deep fried elderflowers and next year I pick more of them earlier in the season. Now I have to wait for the elderberries, they are delicious in a jam.


I am bringing this to the lovely Angie’s Fiesta Friday.









8 Responses to “Elderflower cured venison with lime and watermelon salsa”
  1. This dish looks artful and carefully plated. Good job!

  2. So unique, Petra! I used to have elderberries in my backyard in my old house but back then I had no idea what to do with them. Now that I’ve learned a few ways to use them, I don’t have them. Story of my life 😄 I see wild ones in the woods behind the house but nobody forages around here, let alone eats elderberries. My neighbor even told me they’re poisonous! 😄 See you tomorrow!

    • petra08 says:

      Hello Angie
      I think elderflowers are poisonous if you eat them raw and perhaps the berries as well but not cooked. Elderberry jam is nice and elderflower cordial, and gin, is delicious!
      If you catch the flowers, they are brilliant with venison! 🙂 x

  3. Gorgeous as always, Petra! I’ve never tried elderflowers nor venison but this looks so delicious, I’m ready to dig in! Happy Fiesta Friday and thanks for co-hosting!!

    • petra08 says:

      hi Ai
      Venison has a mild gamy flavor. The meat is very lean and it is delicious. The cure would work with beef or pork as well I am sure, it is a great way to infuse more flavor to the meat! Happy Fiesta Friday 🙂

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