Read our feature on ‘posh squash’ on page 35 of June’s The Simple Things? Get picking elderflowers before the season’s out, and use them to make this simple elderflower ‘champagne’ from blogger, Emma Bradshaw. With elderflowers in full bloom, it seems a waste not to use them in the kitchen. Have a go at this recipe from blogger Emma Bradshaw, who says: 'I've tried lots of different ways to make elderflower champagne, but this is my favourite most tried and tested method.'
You will need:
About 30 elderflower heads, in full bloom (pick on a sunny day away from the roadside, making sure you don't strip a tree of all its flowers!) 2kg natural sugar 4 litres hot water + 2 litres cold Juice and zest of four lemons 1-2 tablespoons white wine vinegar A pinch of dried yeast (although you may not need this)
1. Put the hot water and sugar into a large container (a preserving pan or spotlessly clean bucket is good) and stir until the sugar dissolves, then top up with cold water to 6 litres. 2. Add the lemon juice and zest, the vinegar and the flower heads and stir gently. 3. Cover with a 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. 4. Leave the mixture to ferment, again covered with muslin, for a further four to five days. Strain the liquid through a sieve lined with muslin and decant into sterilised glass bottles. 5. Seal and leave to ferment in the bottles for a further eight days before serving, chilled.
Makes around 20 bottles.
Recipe and images by Emma Bradshaw. Visit Emma's blog for more wild food recipes and outdoor adventures.