When I was 18 my Mum presented me with a cookbook with all my favourites and many ideas from across the family. This recipe was one of hers and while I remember her making it when I was small, I was always too young to taste this mildly alcoholic brew. Walking with Max over the bank holiday weekend I stumbled on some elderflowers and decided, after all these years, it was time to try out that recipe.
Mum’s recipe was a little vague because she could do it with her eyes closed, but after checking a number of recipes online I discovered the quantities were right and also picked up a couple of tricks to ensure the method is foolproof. I don’t want to experience glass exploding across the kitchen or miss out completely on fizz because the wild flower yeast fails. I also learnt Elderflower Champagne is the perfect introduction to home brewing for those who have never tried it before.
My Dad loved to home brew beer and I vividly remember the smell of it fermenting away under the stairs. My only and very successful attempt at home brewing was with a peach schnapps kit my brother bought me for Christmas one year in an ‘under a fiver gift challenge’ that kept on giving.
For various reasons I have feeling this is going to make me feel very happy and home: bringing back happy childhood home memories, celebrating the art of foraging, bringing in the summer and making merry; Elderflower Champagne is between 1 and 3 percent alcoholic.
If you join me now, we can have a little elderflower champagne knees up in 3 weeks – who is in?
1 gallon or 4.5 litres water
6-8 elderflower heads
2 tbs white wine vinegar
(You may need bread or brewers yeast – see step 5)
Plastic bottles (much safer than glass which may explode).
- Shake the elderflowers to make sure there are no bugs lurking, slice up the lemons and place lemons and elderflower heads in a clean pan with the water. Leave for 24-36 hours
- Strain the liquid through a clean muslin cloth or sieve.
- Add the vinegar and sugar and stir until dissolved
- Funnel into two large and sterilised* plastic drink bottles (much safer than glass which can explode under carbon dioxide pressure). Place the lids on but don’t screw too tightly so excess gas can escape.
- After a couple of days bubbles should start to appear*, the result of wild yeast in the flowers.
- After 1-2 weeks the bubbles will slow down and stop, once they have stopped, tighten the lids, give the bottles a few days to settle and then move to the fridge.
You can buy sterilising solution, or some people suggest buying bottled water, pouring the water into a jug or fill up everyone’s water bottles and using the new bottles immediately.
If this doesn’t happen by day 10, you need to add a pinch of yeast – bread making or brewer’s yeast are fine
Too many bubbles
Keep an eye on the plastic bottle bulging. You may need to release some gas from the bottle, you can test this by squeezing the bottle, a bottle that can’t be squeezed needs some gas releasing.
The Elderflower champagne gets more dry as it ferments, so taste testing is the best way to work out when it is exactly right for your tastes.
You may want to place the bottle in a plastic box with a large towel over, just in case!
What’s made you feel happy and home recently?
Written a post full of home love? Join up with #happyandhome
Last week on Happy and Home I loved Cass at Frugal Family’s small things that made me smile!
To join in, just pick a recent post that shares your love of home – it could be recipes, crafts, ideas, homes, gardens, family, friends, fun – click on the blue button to add your post link. The link up starts on Tuesday and finishes on Monday.
Add the badge to help spread the word. I will be reading, tweeting, pinning etc. Please join in by commenting and/or sharing socially too using #happyandhome
I will share some of the posts that inspired happy homes the following week. Let’s get happy and home! Penny x
Help yourself to a badge
<a href="http://www.wayfair.co.uk/aresidence/category/happy-and-home/" target="_blank"><img alt="Happy and Home at A Residence blog" src="http://www.wayfair.co.uk/aresidence/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/happyandhome.jpg" border="0" /></a>
Link Up Your Post