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My mother smelled of what, now?

There’s an elder by our front door (and two in the drive) that is now in full flower. I wonder how long it’s been there. Elder trees were commonly planted beside English cottage doors to ward off witches (only one of many, many magical beliefs and herbal medicines associated with the elder).

More to our purposes, however, a quick-fermenting sort of champagne can be made from the flowers.

20 elderflower heads
1 kg sugar
2 lemons (juice and zest)
10 liters of water
2 tablespoons of vinegar

Sorry about the liters and kilos — it’s all I get any more, stupid Euro-measurements.

Mix it all together in a bucket. Don’t wash the elderflowers; they have a natural yeast that will begin fermentation (or not. If it’s not bubbling in 24 hours, add some yeast).

Stir occasionally for six days, and then strain it through muslin into bottles. Most recipes recommend plastic bottles, on account of the stuff keeps fermenting (like champagne) and is subject to violent explosion. Even in plastic bottles, watch for bulging and let off some gases if needed. Putting the bottles in a bathtub and covering with an old duvet is another suggestoin, to contain damage in the case of rupture.

Eight days(!) after bottling, it’s ready to drink.

What’s it like? Ask me in two weeks; I’ve just made a batch.

June 14, 2010 — 10:09 pm
Comments: 31