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Free Booze – Elderflower Fizzy Wine

elderflowersNow that the first breath of summer finally seems to be upon us with long, sunny days it’s time to enjoy the very best of foraged foods, free booze!

At this time of year the Elderflowers are opening up, all creamy in colour and fragrant on the nose.  The best time to harvest your crop is on a sunny morning as the flowers will be open and ready to catch all of the suns goodness. Don’t pick on a damp day as they often have the faint aroma of cat’s piddle!

To prepare your own home brew you will need;

  • 20 elderflower heads
  • 3 lb caster sugar
  • 5 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 25 pints tepid water
  • 6 large lemons, zested and juiced

Prepare your elderflowers by striping them from the storks by running a fork through them, too much stalk can cause bitterness in the finished brew.

Add them to a large plastic container with all the other dry ingredients, finally add the water but ensure it’s not too warm else it will kill the natural yeast on the flowers and prevent fermentation, luke warm at best.

Give it a good stir and leave for 2-3 days, by then you should see it start to fizz.

The trick is to wait to bottle until the majority of fermentation has occurred, otherwise you’ll get the famous exploding bottle situation, something you really don’t want! (speaking from experience)

Once you feel the bubbling has slowed a bit strain your liquid through clean muslin and bottle into strong bottles, I prefer to use old, sterilised coke bottles as they are stronger and less likely to explode.

It’s ready to drink in a couple of weeks, if you can wait that long!

To serve, chill overnight in the fridge then carefully pour into a jug to prevent the cloudy sediment from mixing with the wine.

 

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