Made by Leo...
When it comes to foraging food, we are very much beginners and as all good books tell you, if in doubt, leave them alone - but elderflowers (and the elder tree in general) is one of those wild foods that is a cinch to spot and impossible to ignore - we simply cannot wait for the promise of champagne, cordial, deep fried heads and elderflower delight.
This then is our Elderflower Champagne recipe, adapted like most champagne recipes from other peoples - River Cottage HQ being the main contributor here - with little twists and turns along the way as you learn from trial and error.
As all the good books dictate, only pick the elderflowers on a sunny day - the pollen will then be coming out, releasing all the best flavour. Also only pick what you need and pick a bit from each tree - leave some flowers for others; for the wild life and of course, for the berries come Autumn.
Chilled on it's own is a delight - added to gin with cloudy apple juice and mint is another wonder altogether.
Elderflower Champagne... (makes six litres)
Four litres of warm water
750g white caster sugar
25 Elderflower heads in full bloom
Juice and zest of four lemons
Two glugs of white wine vinegar
Two litres of cold water
Dried yeast (you might not need this)
In a large clean pan, add the warm water and sugar and stir until all of the sugar has disolved - should take about five minutes.
Next, add the cold water to give you six litres in total.
Now for the elderflowers - please take your time with this, it is worth it in the end - what you need to do is add as many flowers as possible, with as little stalk, leaf or bugs as possible. The less extras that go in, the more golden colour champagne you'll end up with.
To the elderflowers, add the juice and zest of the lemons as well as the two glugs of white wine vinegar. Give it all a good stir, then put in a cool and airy place - you need it to be cool and airy to allow the natural yeasts to infiltrate the drink and make it naturally bubbly.
Place a muslin cloth over the top of the pan and leave for two days.
On day three, take a look and have a listen - it should be fermenting nicely and you will be able to hear it bubbling! If you can't hear anything (or am unsure) then add a pinch of dried yeast. Leave for another four days, cloth on top.
Day eight - you are now ready to decant your liquid. Pour through fresh muslin, into either screw cap bottles or the swing-top bottles (of which must be sterlised). Don't fill all the way up to the top - leave three inches or so of clear space, to allow the carbon dioxide to expand. If you fill right to the top, you run the risk of exploding bottles!
Now wait another week. No, really. It will be worth it, promise. On the day you want to consume, put it in the fridge to chill right down - just be careful when you open it as with a bit of luck, it should be very bubbly by now.
Angela's Elderflower Champagne recipe...
Leave a comment...
What do you think of this Elderflower Champagne Recipe from Marsala Rama? Let us know what you think!
Flowers, juice, zest and vinegar are all in - now leave to steep
Strain through a cloth, bottle and leave for at least one more week