Elderflower Champagne: Getting Dizzy with the Fizzy

Before the elder flowers turn into berries, gather as many blooms as you can and make some fizz.


INGREDIENTS

3 litres water

10 heads of elderflower

300 grams sugar

1 lemon

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

METHOD

Slice the lemon thinly (use unwaxed lemons) and add to a large bowl or bucket.

In a pan pour half the water and all the sugar and warm up on the cooker until the sugar is dissolved (or you can use the kettle and pour boiling water over the sugar). Let the sugary water cool down then pour into the large bowl with the lemons, add the rest of the water, the vinegar and the elderflowers. Please note: lemon slices may impart some bitterness; if you prefer a milder taste only use lemon zest and lemon juice.

The elderflowers should be picked where there is no pollution and early in the morning, and should not be washed to preserve their yeast.

Let the elderflower mixture ferment in its container, covered, for 2-3 days until some furring occurs on the surface. Skim the flowers and lemons with a strainer.

Line the opening of a jug with muslin cloth and pour in the fermented mixture.
Get two large plastic bottles with a screwcap (for example, fizzy water bottles are good) and pour the mixture from the jug.
You need to “burp” the bottles by loosening and tightening their caps every few days to prevent them from exploding.
The elderflower champagne needs to develop its flavour over at least 4 weeks after which it’s ready to serve. It will be slightly alcoholic.

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