Monday, 22 August 2011

Elderflower champagne recipe

I know a lot of people at the clam bake were look for the recipe for elderflower champagne so here you go with thanks to Barbara.

Elderflower champagne recipe
(adapted from Andy McKee )
5/6 Elderflower flowerheads. (Christophe@ Clare Island Eco Farm suggests you pick them on a sunny day- when sugar levels in the plant are up). Flowers are not scalded or sterilised. That would kill the wild yeasts.
4.5 L filtered water
2 lemons (unwaxed)
750 g sugar
2 tbsp cider vinegar
Plastic fizzy drink bottles – squeezable- to check for pressure. Also they will not explode so quickly!.
Pick young flower heads - where the flowers have not yet started to drop petals or turn brown. Use promptly or the aroma will change.
Put 4.5 l water in large lidded saucepan.
Add the elderflowers (shake to get rid of hidden insects !) and the sliced lemons. Put the lid on and leave for 24 – 36 hours. Make sure you submerge them. Do not leave for longer or wild moulds will grow on top.
Strain the liquid through muslin. A fine sieve will do if you don’t mind some petals or pollen sacs in your drink.
Add 750g sugar and 2 tbsp cider vinegar and stir till all the sugar is dissolved.
Pour into plastic bottles. Put tops on to keep fruit flies out but don’t screw them on tight yet. Stand them in a warmish corner (approx 20ยบ is needed for active fermentation. I put them on my heated windowsill seed germinator!) After a few days they will start to fizz.
After one or two weeks the fizzing will slow down. Screw down tops and place bottles in someplace cool. Give them a few days to generate enough gas to carbonate themselves.
Refrigerate before serving over ice and a slice of lemon.
The “champagne” is still live and continuing to ferment so the longer you keep it the more alcoholic it gets. But after 3 months or so it will become too dry for most tastes.
Check occasionally for pressure. If any bottle is unsqueezable release its pressure by loosening top slightly. Let fizzing die down before you tighten top again.

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