Elderflowers start to show their heads in April and then it's time for all of those uniquely wonderful things we can make from the fragrant flowers - like Elderflower Champagne for instance. There is also a recipe for Elderflower Cordial on our website, which is equally delicious.
We'll give our closely guarded recipe that May makes for us at Jam on the Hill in The Smithy.
To make 14 litres/3 gallons you will need:-
10-12 elderflowers heads 2 large lemons, juice and zest 900g/2lbs white sugar 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Pick the elderflowers on a sunny day when they are in full bloom and check for any bugs or bits.
Put the sugar into a large jug or bowl and pour over enough hot water to dissolve the sugar. Add the lemon juice and zest and the vinegar.
Pour into a sterilised bucket, add the flowerheads and make up the liquid to approximately 14 litres/3 gallons.
Cover with a clean teatowel or lid and leave for three days, stirring occasionally.
Strain the liquid through a muslin-lined sieve into a large jug and then pour into sterilsed bottles and seal tightly.
Store laid on their sides - the drink will be ready in about two weeks when it will be very fizzy!
Elderflower Champagne is the amazing drink that it is because of the high level of naturally occurring yeasts which react with the sugar making all of the bubbles. When we make this and capture all of that natural energy inside a bottle there can be unwanted results! It is easy to underestimate just how much pressure can build up inside the bottles so please read our list of do's and dont's below - which isn't exhaustive - but which will help you to treat the product with a healthy respect.The last thing anyone wants is for the bottles to burst but please be aware that this is a possibility. Providing you take sensible precautions you should be able to enjoy this gift from nature all year round.
Some do's and don'ts
Do make plenty - it is much more lovely than you can imagine and great for families as it is not alchoholic
Do store the bottles on their sides
Do store in a cool environment
Do store away from children, pets, hot cars
Do check for a build up of pressure and release the caps a little if necessary
Do open carefully pointing the bottle away from people, pets and windows
Don't ever shake the bottle or move excessively prior to opening
Don't ever underestimate the explosive nature of this product