Saturday, 21 May 2011

Elderflower Champagne

Elderflowers are marvellous as a prophylactic against hayfever. You can take them as tea or cordial two or three times a day. Excellent for those who suffer from a runny nose and eyes.

Mrs Grieves, in The Modern Herbal of 1931,recommends an elderflower infusion as a "good old-fashioned remedy for colds and throat trouble" and whilst Elderflower Champagne isn't exactly what she had in mind it is a lovely drink that is bound to be a bit of a pick you up.

Elderflower Champagne
Pick 6 full Elderflower heads, preferably on a sunny day in the morning, I'm told they smell better then.
In a clean bucket dissolve 1kilo of sugar into 10 litres of cold water.
Give the Elderflowers a shake to remove any dust or insects and immerse in the water.
Add the juice of 2 freshly sqeezed lemons along with the lemon skins.
Add 4 table spoons of white wine vinegar and stir gently.
Cover with a tea towel and leave for 24hours stirring occasionally.
After 24 hours strain the liquor through a sieve or muslin and bottle into sterilised 1 litre plastic pop type bottles. Plastic is best as during the fermentation a lot of fizz is produced which can cause a bottle to explode so don't over fill!
The naturally occuring yeast on the Elderflowers will ferment with the sugar and after a couple of weeks you will have Elderflower Champagne with a very slight alcoholic content. It will be ready to drink but the flavour improves with keeping and it will keep for a year or so in a cool place.

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