A wonderfully refreshing and slightly alcoholic fizzy drink made with the flowers of Elder. Definitely something for all foragers to try making. You will not be disappointed
When harvesting Elderflowers, give a sniff of the flower heads before harvesting. If it smells lovely and sweet, then harvest. If it smells off or like cat pee, leave on the tree to mature into berries. Do not wash your Elderflower heads, the yeast that covers them is needed for fermentation of the Champagne. Just give them a good shake to remove any bugs
Recipe ingredients - makes 20 litres 15-20 large heads of elderflower 15litres water 2kg sugar 8 lemons (pref unwaxed and organic) 4tbs white wine or cider vinegar
Put water and sugar into clean container and stir well
Slice lemons and add to the water
Place Elderflower heads into water with the stems pointing up (make sure flowers are submerged but broken part of main stem is not)
Cover container with muslin, cheese cloth or a clean towel and leave for 24 hours rotating the flowers around the container once every few hours
After 24 hours, remove flowers and lemons, and strain liquid in batches into sterile plastic fizzy drinks bottles (with expansion ridges)
Keep in a cool room (kitchen or larder) for 7 - 10 days, burping bottles at least once per day
After 7 - 10 days, store in a fridge
Every couple of days, burp the bottles to release gas build up
Do not use glass bottles as they will explode under pressure if you forget to burp the bottles regularly.
Alcohol percentage should be about 0.4% or less. You can leave to ferment for another few days outside of the refrigerator for a slightly more alcoholic drink (0.7% ish) but the drink will get dryer.
Always stay safe when foraging. You need to be 100% sure of your identification, 100% sure that your foraged item is edible, and 100% sure that you are not allergic to it (it is good practice to always try a small amount of any new food you are consuming). If in doubt, leave it out!