15th May 2020

Featured / Food / Natasha Lloyd

Elderflower Champagne

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Elderflower Champagne

Serves: Approx 4 liters

Cooks in: 3-4 days

Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients

10-12 elderflower flower fronds
4.5 litres of water
2 kilos of sugar
Juice of 3 lemons
Rose petals (optional)

Tips

There are many stories of folk having bottles explode on them, so please don’t forget to burp. A friend told me of her first venture into elderflower champagne and she stored it in glass bottles on top of her wardrobe in a bedsit. She woke up one morning to the sound of exploding glass bottles flying across the room and over her bed. Needless to say after that rude wake up call and the ensuing sticky mess, she never made that mistake again

The champagne is best drunk within a week or two. It will be roughly 2 to 3% alcohol. It’s delightful. Serve in champagne flutes or your favourite mug and enjoy in the sunshine (hopefully).

Method

1. Remove the flowers from the stalks, as described in the cordial recipe. You must use fresh elderflowers as you need the natural yeast from the flowers.

2. Take a sterilised, 5 litre bucket. Add hot water to the bucket with the sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Allow it to cool to a tepid temperature and then add the elderflowers and lemon juice.

3. Cover the bucket with a loose fitting lid or cloth. You don’t want any dust or bits getting in but need the let the fermenting gases out.

4. Once a day for about three days stir the champagne.

5. At about three or four days it will be ready. This depends on the temperature at which the bucket is kept.

6. I like to add a few rose petals on the last day for a few hours as this gives a lovely colour and hint of rose flavour. Don’t add for much longer than a few hours as the tannins get extracted from the rose petals and make the champagne much more astringent to taste. We’re looking for fizzy floral champagne.


7. Filter the elderflower champagne into plastic bottles. It will continue to ferment and you’ll need to release the gases on a daily basis, this is called burping!

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Natasha Lloyd is a Medical Herbalist and Forager, based in the heart of Cairngorm National Park in Scotland. Natasha has been teaching foraging and herbalism for over 15 years through guided walks, talks and workshops.

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