It's elderflower season in New Zealand, and the perfect time to utilise this beautiful flower by making it into a delicious, light, elderflower champagne! Paddy and I have just bottled 15 litres of it, and can't wait to crack a bottle open for our Christmas Eve dinner. Hopefully we have the willpower to save a few bottles, to let the taste mature. This is very mildly alcoholic, maybe around 0.4 %, if that.
There are many, many elderflower bushes growing wild, on sides of roads and in fields. We found our bush (only a few kms from our house) through the Otautahi Foraging website.
Elderflower Champagne (from NZ Gardener, Homegrown 2)
10 litres water (boiled then cooled)
Juice and rind of two lemons
1kg white sugar
4 Tbls white wine vinegar
10-50 heads of elderflowers
First, forage for your flowers.
Wash them in a bucket of water, but don't get too worried about any bits and pieces, as the mixture gets strained later anyway. Boil the water and allow it to cool and add to a clean bucket with a lid.
Zest your lemons, and add the lemon juice and rind, sugar and vinegar to the cooled water and stir with a clean wooden spoon. Add the elderflower heads and push them down gently until they are submerged.
Put the lid on the bucket and let it sit in a warm room for a day stirring every six hours.
Strain through a sieve lined with muslin and bottle in vessels that are airtight and can handle a bit of fizz! Plastic soft drink bottles or glass bottles with clasps would work fine.
The taste improves with time (about six months is good apparently) but it’s ready to go in two weeks.
I shared this post on Sustainable Eats' Simple Lives Thursday.