• Kerry Bowness

Elderflower Champagne

Updated: Jun 3, 2019

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


Elderflowers and lemons in the fermenting bucket ready to be covered

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


Method

  1. Put water and sugar into clean container and stir well

  2. Slice lemons and add to the water

  3. Add vinegar

  4. Place Elderflower heads into water with the stems pointing up (make sure flowers are submerged but broken part of main stem is not)

  5. Cover container with muslin, cheese cloth or a clean towel and leave for three days rotating the flowers around the container once every day

  6. On third day, check for bubbles and thin white film forming on liquid surface. If no film, leave for another day or two but remove lemons

  7. Strain liquid and put into a second clean container

  8. Cover again with muslin or cheese cloth, and leave for seven - 10 days

  9. Bottle in sterile plastic fizzy drinks bottles (with expansion ridges) and store in the refrigerator

  10. 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 bottle 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.


Discover more wild edibles and recipes on a foraging course and read more about Elder here.


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!