Gorse flower ice cream / Glace aux fleurs d’ajonc

Gorse flowers are a foraging “hidden” gem. 

Gorse (Ulex europaeus), also called furze or whin, is extremely common in Ireland, to many a hillfarmer’s despair. Roadsides, hillsides, seasides are currently covered in a thick and prickly yellow blanket. Springtime is when the sunny blossoms are at their most fragrant, with the tropical scent of coconut floating in the air.

Several years ago, Jedi and Mermaid learnt on a forest camp with Earth Force Education that these bright yellow flowers are edible. Soon after, I came across a recipe for gorse flower ice cream on Wicklow Wild Foods. So I decided to give it a go. 

Determined to try again this wild food recipe, on Saturday, we took the four acorns and their four little baskets on a harvesting mission along the Cliff Walk, between Greystones and Bray, Co Wicklow.

The prospect of homemade ice cream was a powerful motivation for all. In under half an hour, we had gathered more than enough flowers to fill the four baskets. 

Fast forward to Sunday lunch, and the first tasting was met with sighs of delight by all. Brian even said you would expect this ice cream to be served as an amuse-bouche in a fancy restaurant!


Les fleurs d’ajonc demeurent un trésor gastronomique caché.

Enfin presque. Car les arbrisseaux d’ajonc (Ulex europaeus) sont extrêmement communs en Irlande, au grand désespoir de bien des agriculteurs de montagne. En ce moment, les talus, coteaux et rivages arborent une épaisse couverture jaune et piquante. C’est au printemps que les pétales ensoleillés exhalent leur fragrance exotique de noix de coco.

Il y a quelques années, Jedi et Sirène ont appris lors d’un stage en forêt avec Earth Force Education que ces fleurs jaune vif sont comestibles. Peu après, je suis tombée sur une recette de glace aux fleurs d’ajonc sur le site de Wicklow Wild Foods. Alors j’ai décidé de tenter le coup.

Déterminés à retenter cette recette insolite, nous sommes partis samedi avec les quatre graines de chêne et leurs quatre petits paniers, pour récolter des fleurs sur le sentier de la Falaise, entre Greystones et Bray, Co Wicklow.

L’idée d’en faire de la glace leur avait donné des ailes. En moins d’une demi-heure, nous avons cueilli assez de fleurs pour remplir les quatre paniers.

Dimanche, après le repas de midi, vint le moment de la dégustation, saluée par maints soupirs de délectation. Brian a même suggéré qu’on s’attendrait à trouver cette glace au menu d’un grand restaurant !


Additional information

Wicklow Wild Foods logoWicklow Wild Foods
Tel. +353 085 153 8795
Email info@wicklowwildfoods.com
Facebook @wicklowwildfoods
Two years ago, Mermaid and I went on a guided foraging walk with Geraldine Kavanagh of Wicklow Wild Foods – you can read all about it here.
Wicklow Wild Foods offers guided foraging walks every Saturday from March to October, starting at 10.30am; €40 per person, children are free of charge. Please visit Geraldine’s website for booking and additional information. You might also see Geraldine selling her wild food products on farmers’ markets, and giving wild food cookery demonstrations.

If you are new to foraging, never eat a wild plant unless you are 100 percent sure of its identification! Use at least one guidebook, preferably two. For foraging in Ireland, Geraldine highly recommends Wild Food, by Roger Phillips, and Hedgerow – River Cottage Handbook no. 7, by John Wright, both available from the Book Depository and Amazon.


Infos pratiques

Wicklow Wild Foods
Tel. +353 085 153 8795
Email info@wicklowwildfoods.com
Facebook @wicklowwildfoods
Wicklow Wild Foods propose une cueillette guidée tous les samedis de mars à octobre ; départ à 10h30, 40 € par personne, gratuit pour les enfants. Consultez le site de Geraldine pour réserver et pour tout renseignement supplémentaire. Geraldine vend aussi ses produits à base de plantes sauvages sur les marchés de producteurs et donne des démonstrations de cuisine à base de plantes sauvages.

Enfin, si vous débutez dans la cueillette de plantes sauvages, ne consommez jamais une plante que vous n’avez pas identifiée ! Utilisez un guide des plantes comestibles, deux de préférence.


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Country Kids

10 Responses to “Gorse flower ice cream / Glace aux fleurs d’ajonc

  • We are definitely trying this! Was it coconutty?

    • It tastes ever so slightly like the smell, with a slight bitterness. Definitely unusual, and totally delicious!

  • Wow I had absolutely no idea you could make ice cream with gorse! What a great activity to do with kids #CountryKids

  • We have loads of these gorse bushes here on the farm. I had heard that they were edible flowers but wasn’t sure of a recipe, this sounds wonderful, I’m definitely giving it a go. I might try muffins with them too. I’ll let you know how that goes. We made wild garlic pasta this week here as the farm is brimming with that too, I’l share that over the next couple of weeks. Thank you for inspiring me with another food growing on our farm. Your photos of the children collecting the flowers are gorgeous.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

    • Fiona,
      You can also make cordial with gorse flowers. Forager Monica Wilde has a lovely recipe on her blog. It tastes surprisingly tropical! And yes, please let me know how you get on with the muffins! 🙂

  • Is 250 grams of gorse flower as much as I think it is? They can’t weigh much each!

    • It’s about 2 small baskets of flowers. Picking them is quite efficient if you make sure to grab lots of petals at once at the top of the flower. Mind the prickles though!

  • This sounds delicious and so unusual. Does it taste as good as it smells?? I keep driving past gorse with yearnings!! Must try the recipe quick before the flowers lose their fragrance #CountryKids

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