Every year we pick Elderflowers to make champagne and usually the flowers are out just in time to make the champagne for Abi’s birthday and this year was no exception.
Last year we bought a pink elderflower bush for our garden and this year we had several flowers enabling us to make one batch of pink and one of white champagne.
Years ago my Mother-in-law used to make it and bottle it in glass bottles until one year the pressure got so great that the bottles shattered shredding the back of the sofa behind which she had placed them!! The first year we were married we decided to use corked glass bottles and store them in the cupboard under the stairs but like Mum’s the pressure got too much and in the middle of the night we heard bangs as the corks flew off at pressure and hit the cupboard roof! So now we reuse plastic squash or fizzy bottles. This means that we can release the pressure every day and as it gets fizzier two or three times a day. Interestingly the pink champagne was extremely fizzy within 24 hours whereas the white took a while longer.
So how do we make it?
10-15 Elderflower heads
1lb (500g) sugar
2 Tablespoons of vinegar
5 pints of water (1pint boiling and 4 pints cold)
Put the sugar into a large bowl and pour on the one pint of boiling water and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Squeeze the lemons and add the juice to the bowl.
Cut up the lemon rind and add to the bowl along with the vinegar.
Add the flowerheads and the 4 pints of cold water to the bowl, cover and leave to stand for 24 hours.
Strain and bottle remembering to release pressure daily or as often as needed.
One more thing to make you aware of is that this will get alcoholic. Last year Abi picked a large bag full of elderflowers so we put at least 20 heads in each batch. Rather stupidly we assumed that it just had been given the name champagne but wasn’t alcoholic, especially as no yeast etc is added. Well, one Sunday last year Josh had rather greedily had five glasses of it and then complained of tummy ache. I sent him to lie down where he promptly fell asleep for the whole afternoon. Still I didn’t twig. Abi went off for her first driving lesson the next day on three glasses of it, (incidentally her instructor commented on her good spacial awareness) but it wasn’t until later that day when I had some that I realised that it had become alcohlic as I react to alcohol. Ooops!! I felt really bad about it at the time, I mean we do our best as parents to try to be responsible but we somehow ended up making nine year old Josh drunk and sending Abz for her first driving lesson on alcohol but we can laugh about it now!! So just a warning be careful how much you drink at a time especially if you intend to drive!!
I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment. I will try to reply as soon as possible. x