Feb 122014
 
Elderflower Champagne
 
Summer fizz that packs a punch!
Ingredients
  • 4 litres hot water
  • 750g sugar
  • Juice and zest of 3 unwaxed lemons and 1 large orange.
  • 2 tablespoons cider apple vinegar
  • About 15-20 Elderflower heads, in full bloom
  • A good pinch of dried yeast
Instructions
  1. Put the hot water and sugar into a large container (a spotlessly clean bucket is good) and stir until the sugar dissolves, then top up with cold water so you have 6 litres of liquid in total.
  2. Add the citrus juice and zest, the vinegar and the flower heads and stir gently.
  3. Cover with a clean muslin and leave to ferment in an airy and cool place for 2 or 3 days. Have a look at the brew at this point and add a pinch of yeast.
  4. Leave the mixture to ferment covered with muslin for a further four days. Strain the liquid through a sieve lined with muslin and decant into sterilised screw-top plastic bottles (a good deal of pressure can build up inside as the fermenting brew produces carbon dioxide so strong bottles and lids are essential).
  5. Seal and leave to ferment in the bottles for at least a week before serving, chilled with Mango juice.
  6. Can now be transferred into glass bottles with swing top lids or champagne bottles with a cork and cage or proper stopper
  7. The champagne should keep in the bottles for several months. Store in a cool, dry place.
  8. If using Grolsch style swing top bottles watch your fingers, don’t point the bottle at anyone as it can be a bit feisty and open outdoors if you don’t want to be cleaning up when you should be quaffing.
  9. To avoid explosions, use strong bottles and strong seals. A really active mixture can produce lots of gas if left for a long period, so do remember to let it off regularly to prevent explosions! There are lots of warnings about where and when to pick them but one’s away from busy roads are best and are always best picked on a hot sunny day. Don’t put them in a plastic bag for too long and use immediately for best results.

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