Saturday, June 19, 2010

elderflower champagne.

I'm a little bit crazy for elderflowers (Sambuccas Nigra). Their strong, heady perfume is so intense it almost borders on unpleasantness. In fact they are fairly toxic plants (but people have been drinking and cooking with them for years so hopefully we'll be ok). They only flower for a few weeks, late may till late June this year in the UK.

So we went out just before a thunderstorm, and gathered bagfuls of them.

I used this recipe posted on selfsufficientish (great name for a blog)

It's a nice sloppy recipe, I'm not one for precision. I put the flowers and sugar into our 25 litre brewing bucket, and left it to stew, with a bit of citric acid added, for 3 days, stirring it once a day. Then I strained it, and bottled half of it as cordial. I diluted the rest of it a little more,added some cider yeast (tolerates higher alcohol), left it a couple more days, then bottled it. Now we have oodles of fizzy, fragrant, fairly alcoholic 'champagne'. I've kept 4 more litres in demijohns, and once it's stable and has stopped fermenting I will bottle it, keep it for 3 months and voila, wine. Though I hold our less hope for our wine, our elderberry wine is still foul. I'm holding out hope for it to mellow with time. I'm chuffed, cordial, champagne and wine from one picking, and relatively little effort. Yum.

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