Elderflower bushes are generally considered a ‘weed’ – they just appear in your garden, wanted or not. For myself, I think they’re actually quite pretty – small creamy coloured flowers which turn into crimson berries in the autumn. We’ve ‘lucky’ to have two large bushes in our back garden.
The Danes drink (organic) elderflower juice all year long – it’s a popular alternative to cola, all year round. I used to make my own elderflower cordial. Until last year – when I couldn’t get hold of sachets of citric acid – and discovered this recipe for Elderflower Champers. Easy, elegant and soooo good! 🙂
Cut about 10 small elderflower heads (in full bloom – not the ones turning pale brown) and rinse them gently with cold water – just to get any bugs out 😉
Pop them in a very large pot, to which you add a roughly chopped lemon. Pips n’ all.
Pour over 750g sugar (just over 1 lb) and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar. White wine vinegar if you have it.
Lastly, pour over 4½ litres (roughly 9 pints) of cold water. Give it a good stir round, cover and leave for at least 24 hours in a cool place.
The next day you can strain it and put it into sturdy glass bottles. A word of warning: it gets really fizzy, so you need bottles which won’t pop! I made up my elderflower champers today, so you’ll need to make do with a photo of the ones I made last year…on the old kitchen counter.
Leave the bottles in a cool, dark place. You might want to wrap them in a plastic carrier bag – just in case they ‘pop’, remember? Natural yeast will work it’s wonderful magic and – after about 6 weeks – you’ll have the most fantastic, golden, summery champagne which will make even the French turn green with envy. Serve really cold. And be careful when you open the bottle! (Lock animals and kids indoors and wear firework goggles…) If you leave it longer than 6 weeks, it will start to lose some of its fizz (and be less alcoholic) but still be drinkable.
Have a super summery Saturday – cheers! 🙂