Wednesday, 16 May 2018

How to Make 6 litres of Elderflower Champagne

15 elderflower heads in full bloom
4 litres of hot water
Juice and zest of 4 lemons
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar

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 until 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.

With thanks to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall © River Cottage Spring Channel 4(opens in a new window)

Please note: To avoid an explosion, use strong bottles and strong seals. A really active mixture can produce lots of gas if left for a long period, so remember to let it off reguarly!

NB Source your elderflowers from the countryside where there are no low flying aircraft or other traffic. Pick the flowers high on the bush rather than where wild animals might have been sleeping or peeing

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