Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Recipe time!: Elderflower Champagne

A little while ago I mentioned that elderflowers were in bloom all over the hedgerows here at the moment; their little star like flowers grow in cheerful profusion, and they smell beautifully sweet and floral. Inspired by Darina Allen’s wonderful Forgotten Skills of Cooking, I decided to give my own elderflower fizz a go. Theoretically this blend of water, sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, and elderflowers will transform into a sweet and bubbly champagne-ish drink after fermenting in well sealed, sterilised bottles for about two weeks. I tried mine exactly two weeks later, and it was feeling a little lively, but still somewhat flat. I’ll give it another week and see if that improves matters.

It’s pretty much the end of the elderflower season now, but if there’s a tree near you which still has lovely big blooms, which smell sweet and don’t lose petals when gently shaken, give it a go for yourself.

This recipe is from Darina Allen's weekly letter of June 26 2010, available in it's original here

Elderflower Champagne

This magical recipe transforms perfectly ordinary ingredients into a delicious sparkling drink. The children make it religiously every year and then share the bubbly with their friends.

2 heads of elderflowers
560g (11/4lb) sugar
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
4.5L (8pints) water
1 lemon
Remove the peel from the lemon with a swivel top peeler. Pick the elderflowers in full bloom. Put into a bowl with the lemon peel, lemon juice, sugar, vinegar and cold water. Leave for 24 hours, and then strain into strong screw top bottles. Lay them on their sides in a cool place. After 2 weeks it should be sparkling and ready to drink. Despite the sparkle this drink is non-alcoholic.
The bottles need to be strong and well sealed; otherwise the Elderflower champagne will pop its cork.


janina piva said...

this makes me sooo happy!
I want to make some now, but i need an elder tree first.

baby steps

Alison said...

Baby steps are the best way to go about anything! Keep an eye out along hedgerows and in parks and fields for elder trees, I acquired my blooms from an obliging tree down a lane near my house. The same lane has loads of blackberry bushes in flower, in a month or so they'll be full of fruit. It really is amazing how much you can find for free in the wild!