It’s almost pinch punch first of the month the first of June and finally the sun has encouraged the elder bushes and trees to bloom in abundance. According to the Scibblers on SCRAN it is now the time to brew up some elderflower champagne!
Over the last few years the popularity of making elderflower cordials and pop has grown – not suprising when you see the cost of commercially produced versions. Making your own “champagne” is not only cheaper but very simple, fun and a little risky – will it be fizzy? Will it be too fizzy and blow the bottles? Try out this recipe and hopefully you will make a delicious refreshing summer drink.
The methods detailed on River Cottage and BBC Food websites still talk about storing the drink in glass bottles however I lean to the experience of the Muncher in this classic feature about making elderflower champagne but emphasising the dangers of glass bottle exploding as the pressure built up by the CO2 being too great to be contained. Instead it is recommended that plastic bottles are used – tonic water/lemonade types which can withstand the enorous pressure and if it becomes too great will distort rather than blowing the bottle into smithereens.
You only need a handful (7or 8) of full bloom elderflower heads and it is best to pick these on a still sunny day well away from traffic pollution. Heads picked? Let’s begin.
- Half fill a clean bucket with 2 gallons of cold water (thats 10 Litres for my Euro chums)
- dissolve 2lbs (1kg) of white sugar into the water
- shake any debris and insects clear from the elderflower heads and immerse in the water
- Cut two lemons in half squeeze juice into water and throw in the squeezed halfs
- add a splosh (4 tablespoons) of white wine vinegar
- stir gently and cover with a clean tea towel
- leave for 24 hours stirring occasionally
Strain into plastic bottles, loosely put the tops on to allow the fermenting gasses to escape the after a few days when the bubble are slowing down scre the tops on tightly and leave in a cool dark place for a week or so then crack one open carefully and enjoy!