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Most years I make elderflower champagne, and sometimes it is good; more often it is explosive and very, very dry! The recipe I use is Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s from River Cottage…
This year I am hoping for a good, fizzy variety…
- 24 – 40 Elderflower heads, in full bloom
- 700g Sugar
- 4l Hot Water
- 4 whole Lemons, juice and zest
- 2 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
- 1 pinch dried yeast (you may not need this)
- Put the hot water and sugar into a large container (a spotlessly clean bucket is good) and stir until the sugar dissolves, then top up with cold water so you have 6 litres of liquid in total.
- Add the lemon juice and zest, the vinegar and the flower heads and stir gently.
- Cover with clean muslin and leave to ferment in a cool, airy place for a couple of days. Take a look at the brew at this point, and if it’s not becoming a little foamy and obviously beginning to ferment, add a pinch of yeast.
- Leave the mixture to ferment, again covered with muslin, for a further four days. Strain the liquid through a sieve lined with muslin and decant into sterilised strong glass bottles with champagne stoppers (available from home-brewing suppliers) or Grolsch-style stoppers, or sterilised screw-top plastic bottles (a good deal of pressure can build up inside as the fermenting brew produces carbon dioxide, so strong bottles and seals are essential).
- Seal and leave to ferment in the bottles for a further eight days before serving, chilled. The champagne should keep in the bottles for several months. Store in a cool, dry place.
Elderflower champagne fermenting