Elder Champagne

1st July 2013

Summer wouldn’t be complete without making Elderflower champagne. As we mentioned yesterday there seems to be an abundance of Elderflowers this year so why not have a go at making this or one of several Elderflower recipes.

Wild Food Foraging course –  Our countryside is packed with wild foods and useful plants – if you know where to look!

 

Elder in full bloom

Before we get to the champagne recipe, Elderflowers have long been used for medicinal purposes. Dried they can be infused as a tea and used to treat colds and ‘flu and they are also good for allergies like hayfever.

To make cordial simply follow the advice in the blog on syrups, maybe adding a dash of lemon juice to make it less sweet then dilute to taste. Elderflower fritters make a wonderful dessert. Dip the whole flower head in a light tempura batter made from soda water and plain flour and deep fry until golden and crispy, dredge with sugar and serve.  We once made the batter with Elderflower flavoured fizzy, spring water to give a double elder hit.  Elderflower also has an affinity with gooseberries so try adding some Elderflower syrup to fools and syllabub.

In this part of the country we have now had a few days of warm sunny weather which allows the natural wild yeast to colonise the flowers which is essential for making Elderflower champagne.

 

  • Collect at least 10 large heads of Elderflowers on a dry sunny morning, shake off any insects but do not wash.
  • Dissolve 1.5 kg of granulated sugar in a 3 litres of boiling water then add 6 litre of cold water.
  • Add the juice and chopped rind of 4 lemons and 4 tablespoons of white wine vinegar.
  • Then add the Elderflowers, mix and leave for 4 days.
  • Strain through a jelly bag or fine cloth into plastic 2 litre pop bottles.
  • Keep an eye on the bottles, if they start looking like like they are about to pop unscrew the caps and release a bit of gas.
  • The champagne should be ready to drink after 10 days or so and will keep for up to a year.

 

 

Kev Palmer

Learn wild food cookery in one of our bushcraft course in the UK.