... cooked up by Philip Jeck for the Touch Recipe Book

Elderflower Champagne

Ingredients:

4/5 large heads of elderflowers, picked on a dry sunny day, fully open. This is usually in the early June in the UK.
1kg sugar
2 lemons
4 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
10 litres of cold water

Equipment:

10 litre vessel (like a plastic bucket)
Bottles that are strong enough to take the pressure of the gas produced (like litre tonic, lemonade bottles)
a large jug
a small jug
a lemon squeezer
a funnel
a potato peeler or sharp small knife
a tablespoon
a sieve
a strainer or fine clean muslin

Method:

Make sure all the equipment used is sterilised and well rinsed (very important or it will go bad).
Wash the lemons and peel finely as possible the rind.
Remove any insects, leaves or any other objects from the flowerheads, don't wash them.
Squeeze the lemons and put the juice in the 10 litre vessel with the rind and flowers.
Add the sugar and wine vinegar, carefully so as to not crush the flowers
Pour on the water and stir gently. Cover and leave to stand 24 hours,
Stir gently about every 6 hours.
After 24 hours take off cover and remove any large pieces of flower heads and rind
Use small jug to pour some liquid into large jug through the sieve. When large jug is full, place the funnel into a sterilised bottle and pour liquid through strainer/muslin into bottle. Repeat for all of the bottles, screw caps on firmly and leave somewhere not hot or cold.

After 2/3 weeks it will be ok to drink but the longer left the more the flavour develops.

It will last up to a year. When opening be careful it can be very lively!



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