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Elderflowers

Posted by --- on Saturday 21 June, 2008

I actually got around to syphoning the wine from out of the shed tonight. It’s rice and raisin, very dry and has been there for months as I didn’t know what to do with it! I will update all the info properly when I find my notes. I think it had an SG of .990 after its initial fermentation so I added sugar to make it sweeter and was trying to get my head around C.J.J. Berry’s chapter on Specific Gravity and sugar content. He talks about alcohol content though and I’m more interested in taste than strength – I’d much rather have a weaker wine that is to my palette and I enjoy drinking than one that isn’t as nice but blows your socks off! The wine in the shed still seems to be fermenting as the lid was bowed out with the internal pressure.

I bought a lidded bucket (for elderflower recipes) and some new rubber bungs (for the airlocks on the rice and raisin) from the market today; £3.95 for the bucket and 5 bungs at 30p each. K went to a friends party and J went to work with S (delivery indian take-away) tonight so I made a sugar solution with 1lb of sugar in a jug mixed with enough wine to make up to 1.5 pts. I then added 1/2 pt to each demijohn before topping them up with the racked wine. I’ve no idea why I’ve done this – it just seemed like the right thing to do lol. I’ve numbered them 1,2, and 3 in order of how they were filled – number 3 may have some sediment in it. I then added airlocks, cotton wool to deter the fruit flies and put them back in the shed. Number 2 looked like it was still bubbling away but I’ll check tomorrow.

After fetching K back from the party we spent 2 hours in next door’s jungle trying to get to the elderflowers. The garden is an overgrown mass of brambles, nettles and grass covered bricks, blocks, and fencing. The weeds are taller than I am and it’s quite treacherous under foot but we managed to get enough flowers to make a start on elderflower wine and elderflower cordial.

The recipes I’m using are from users on one of my favourite places: the selfsufficientish forums which I’ll post below.   There are other recipes about such as the one in C.J.J. Berry’s book First Steps in Winemaking, and one at Wiccan tradition . The SG of my wine with the sugar added is 1.115 at a temp of 68.

I’d like to try fritters (and here) but I don’t have any more flowers… :(

I have an elder in a pot but it’s too small to produce flowers. I will put it into the ground when I can. I will also take some cuttings from next doors plants as this site says they grow well from cuttings.

Elderflower Cordial

An easy to make drink that can be frozen in plastic bottles, leaving room for expansion, so it can be enjoyed all year round. It will keep for almost a month if just bottled, although is best to drink within 2 weeks. To ensure no mould, it is better that you freeze elderflower cordial and it can be enjoyed as a christmas drink.

Ingredients

  • 20 elderflower heads
  • 1 sliced lemon
  • 2 tsp of citric acid (ask at your chemist or winemaking supplier)
  • 1.5 kg (3.5 lbs) of sugar
  • 1.2 ltr (2.5 pints) boiling water

Method

Boil a kettle for the water.Fill a bowl or small bucket with all the other ingredients.
Pour the water over the other ingredients and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Skin the surface of the water to get rid of the scum that can arise.
Cover with a cloth (mine has a pillow case over it).Stir twice a day for five days.
Strain though a fine sieve though a fine sieve or through muslin cloth and decant into sterile screw topped bottles.
Refrigerate.
As with other cordials dilute with 5 parts water to serve .
Experiment with it and add it to some of your favourite spirits. It is really nice as a gin mixer.

Elderflower wine

Ingredients

  • Grated rind of one lemon
  • 500mls (1 pint) of elderflowers – to obtain this pick or shake of the elderflowers and place into a measuring jug. Don’t push them down but do shake them down. Be careful not to add any of the bitter green stems.
  • 3.5 litres (8 pints) of boiling water
  • 1.3kg (3 lbs) sugar
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 25g (Half an ounce) yeast

Method

Put lemon rind with the elderflowers and pour over boiling water
Allow to stand for 4 days, stirring occasionally.

Strain through a fine sieve or muslin cloth
Stir in sugar, lemon juice and yeast
Keep at room temperature to ferment, try not to let it go down to 18c (65f)
When you are sure all the bubbling has ceased, stir the wine and allow to settle for 3 days
Strain again carefully
Put in a demijohn (not bottles)
After 3 months maturing, put into bottles.

other links
lucs winelog

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One Response to “Elderflowers”

  1. […] the night stripping the flowers off with a fork. I then browsed the web for recipes andI used the recipe I used for the cordial last year andthe champagne recipe from river cottage […]

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