Saturday, 15 June 2013

Elderflower Champagne

It's that lovely time of year again, the elder trees are all suddenly going for it, blooming away. I am taking advantage of this. Off I went to collect the elderflowers in my new basket. The recipe says 25 heads of elderflower, which sounds like loads, but it only takes about 5 minutes to collect.

Recipe for 10 litres:

·       6.7 litres hot water

·       1.170kg sugar

·       Juice and zest of 7 lemons (I just peeled the rind off them, we'll see if it works)

·       3 tbsp white wine vinegar

·       25 heads of elderflower

1. Put the hot water and sugar into a large container (a spotlessly clean bucket is good) and stir until the sugar dissolves, then top up with cold water so you have 6 litres of liquid in total.

2. Add the lemon juice and zest, the vinegar and the flower heads and stir gently.

3. Cover with clean muslin and leave to ferment in a cool, airy place for a couple of days. Take a look at the brew at this point, and if it’s not becoming a little foamy and obviously beginning to ferment, add a pinch of yeast.

4. Leave the mixture to ferment, again covered with muslin, for a further four days. Strain the liquid through a sieve lined with muslin and decant into sterilised strong glass bottles with champagne stoppers (available from home-brewing suppliers) or Grolsch-style stoppers, or sterilized screw-top plastic bottles (a good deal of pressure can build up inside as the fermenting brew produces carbon dioxide, so strong bottles and seals are essential).

5. Seal and leave to ferment in the bottles for at least a week before serving, chilled. The champagne should keep in the bottles for several months. Store in a cool, dry place

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