The elderflower is out and I caught the smell as I walked under the trees to the top of my garden. I’ve made elderflower cordial for several years but last year made elderflower champagne for the first time. It was a great success as everybody who tried it loved it so I’m having another go this year. I use the following recipes and have found them easy to follow.
30 elderflower heads
3 litres of boiling water (about 6 pints)
900g (2lb) of caster sugar
1 packet of citric acid (bought at the chemist)
2 oranges unwaxed-sliced
3 lemons unwaxed-sliced
Gently rinse the elderflowers to remove blackfly and dirt. Pour the boiling water over the sugar in a bucket and stir until dissolved. Leave to cool. Add citric acid, oranges, lemons and flowers.
Leave in a cool place for 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Strain through muslin into a sterilised bottle.
15 elderflower heads
4 litres of hot water
Juice and zest of 4 lemons
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
Pour hot water over sugar and stir until dissolved. Add cold water until you have 6 litres in total. Wash flower heads to remove blackfly and dirt. Add to water with lemon juice, zest and vinegar. Stir gently.
Cover with a tea towel and leave to ferment in a cool airy place for a couple of days. Check the brew and if it’s not fermenting ( a little foamy looking) add some yeast. I didn’t need to do this last year.
Strain the liquid through a sieve lined with muslin and put into sterilised strong glass bottles with champagne stoppers. I’ve used recycled lemonade bottles and bought some more from Lakeland with the flip corks. Seal and leave to ferment for at least a week before serving, chilled. It will keep for several months, but all mine didn’t last the summer!