Elderflower champagne

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ellengray
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Elderflower champagne

Postby ellengray » Fri Nov 06, 2009 3:32 pm

There can be few nicer things to be doing on a late spring afternoon than picking heads of elder flowers. :)

I have just started my very first bunch of elderflower champagne. (Apparently you can freeze or even dry the flowers to use all year round.)

You can find the recipe I used here.

http://www.channel4.com/food/recipes/ch ... e_p_1.html

It is one of Hugh F-W's. Please read the page and all the comments after it as it is hilarious. Hugh apparently got the sugar wrong when he first posted this recipe online and the first batch of people who tried it had bursting bottles all over the place. They were sooo indignant!

Sara

ellengray
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Re: Elderflower champagne

Postby ellengray » Wed Nov 11, 2009 3:17 pm

Update on the elderflower champagne recipe.

My champagne has been fermenting for about 3 days now and needs another two before I bottle it. I had to use some champagne yeast and some yeast nutrient to get it fermenting, though.

I had a quick taste of it this morning - wow! Kick plus!

I am hoping this will be an outstanding success, because then I will have my booze sorted for months ahead. ;) Every two days I head out and pick another lot of elder flowers and freeze them for later batches.

Has anyone else ever made this?

Mojojo
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Re: Elderflower champagne

Postby Mojojo » Thu Nov 12, 2009 10:17 am

Nope, haven't made it... but its going on the list of things to do!
Which is growing steadily by the day.

I love the elderflower press "soft drink" I used to get in the UK. So I am going to like the elderflower champagne too I suspect!
~ Jo
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minnie
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Re: Elderflower champagne

Postby minnie » Thu Nov 12, 2009 10:44 am

Now I just have to say, I've got no idea what an elderflower looks like or if we can grow them up here?

I've heard of Elderberry wine. Will now have to google.
:)
Vicki

ellengray
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Re: Elderflower champagne

Postby ellengray » Fri Nov 13, 2009 4:25 am

My elderberry tree/large shrub came as a gift from the gods. Down one fence line I have a thicket of highly thorny roses - beautiful but ever so thorny. Last summer I was dismayed to see the elderflower poking its way through the top portion of the rose thicket (It is considered a great pest weed down here); its seed must have been dropped by a bird. No way could I root it out as it was protected by the thorny thicket. So I just let it grow and now I am glad I did.

Elderberries can also be made into a piquant sauce, and elderberry cordial is supposed to be a good protectant against flu etc. So many uses!

minnie
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Re: Elderflower champagne

Postby minnie » Fri Nov 13, 2009 6:18 am

Hi Sara,

Yes I read up on them, and apparently they do grow in sub-tropical... I wonder if they grow as well as the Lantana does? Hmmm if so it may be advisable for me to be very careful, Lantana is such a scourge!

You've got me thinking I'll have to talk to the local nursery about it.
:D
Vicki

ellengray
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Re: Elderflower champagne

Postby ellengray » Fri Nov 13, 2009 2:33 pm

All you need are some seeds and the blasted things grow like a weed - mine has gone from nothing to 9 foot monster and huge girth in 2 years. If you can't find any perhaps I can post some berries to you later in the year? (If I can get them before the birds do)

I bottled the champagne today - hope the bottles don't explode!!!

minnie
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Re: Elderflower champagne

Postby minnie » Fri Nov 13, 2009 3:21 pm

Hi Sara,

Ho ho ho, I'm excited just found a plant at my local nursery so they're putting one away for me to pick up next week.

Sara, you've given me some really good ideas on doing my own champagne and wine and if I can I'll look at eventually only having my own... LOVE IT!! :lol:

This site looked to have some interesting seed:
http://www.beautanicals.com.au/elder.html

They said:
We use the flowers of the Elder to treat colds and sore throats.
The leaves are applied to bruises.
The berries taste wonderful, and are very high in vitamin C.
A tablespoon of fresh Elderberries, mashed in one cup of water and brought to the boil makes a great analgesic headache brew.
A tea of the leaves is an eco-friendly insecticide. The flowers, soaked in water overnight with a spoonful of sugar is a refreshing drink.
What more could you ask for in a plant?

Got to agree with the last sentence, what more could you ask for.
:D
Vicki

ellengray
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Re: Elderflower champagne

Postby ellengray » Fri Nov 13, 2009 3:42 pm

The elderberry/flower has been used for thousands of years - it is one of our oldest medicinal herbs.

minnie
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Re: Elderflower champagne

Postby minnie » Fri Nov 13, 2009 3:51 pm

I'd heard of it but for some strange reason didn't think it grew here... goes to show how things are worth checking.
:D
Vicki

ellengray
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Re: Elderflower champagne

Postby ellengray » Sat Nov 14, 2009 4:47 am

I checked my champagne about 4 hours after bottling it - I did one bottle in a soft drink plastic bottle so I could check gassiness. Whoa! even after only 4 hours the plastic bottle was hard as a rock so I let off some gas - damned stuff fizzed everywhere. Then I had to do 12 bottles of swing top bottles and again, fizz everywhere. Geez ... this is fizzy stuff.

alicelt
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Re: Elderflower champagne

Postby alicelt » Sat Nov 14, 2009 9:18 am

as with my efforts at bay trees, my elder tree did die a horrible death here in this heat.

I think perhaps it's just not well suited to an extended dry very hot period (eeek heat wave here right now, forecast to be 39 today and tomorrow after 5 days of over 35) and while I confess to perhaps being a little slack with the watering - fact is, there's just not the water either.

Having said that, last year I bought one of those oz-tops kits. Essentially they are a plastic lid designed to fit on pretty much any size plastic bottle. The lid has a built-in gas release valve. The kit comes with lids and with two different types of yeast, a higher temp beer style yeast and a lower temp champagne yeast.

All you do is buy some plastic bottles of juice from the supermarket, decant a little off, add a sprinkle of whichever yeast is going to suit the weather, stick the special lid on and off you go. You have a basic fruit wine in a few days with a nice fizz but low alcohol. If you want something with more punch, you can leave it to ferment longer. However the longer you leave it the more sugars turn into alcohol so the dryer the resulting taste will be. If you want something with LOADS of punch, you pour off a little more of the juice to start with, dissolve a bunch of sugar in half of it and return it to the bottle. That way you can get a higher alcohol reading and still have some sweetness left.

I used them a lot last year and given it's really too hot to be brewing beer at the moment (I was supposed to be doing it now for the heatwaves we usually get at the end of January/February but the silly heatwave came early!) I think I'll get them out again.

It's very interesting to notice the flavour differences - you can do the same type of juice with the same addition of sugar and do one with one yeast and one with the other, and the difference in flavour is quite astonishing. DH prefers the effect of the champage yeast, while I like the beer one!

Ali

minnie
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Re: Elderflower champagne

Postby minnie » Sat Nov 14, 2009 9:37 am

Hi Ali,

We've got the heatwave arriving next week, predicated 40degrees... so we'll turn off computers in the middle of day(s).

I'm thinking to find the shadiest spot for the Elderberry and hope like hell, although we do get good rainfall and DH tells me he had it growing in Lismore but it didn't like going underwater. ;)

He's bottling his beer today. He makes up two tins every week, without fail and stores in the shed... at one stage he had five years of beer so didn't have to make any for that long... it seems to last much better than the brewery stuff too.

Keep cool, have you still got chooks and guinea pigs?
:D
Vicki

ellengray
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Re: Elderflower champagne

Postby ellengray » Sat Nov 14, 2009 10:21 am

Oh my God, the elderflower champagne. I am too drained to write it all up again, but have a read of my adventures on my blog since I bottled it yesterday. LOL

http://nonsuchkitchengardens.com/wordpress/?p=484

Vicki - mine does really well in the Hobart climate - coolish temperate, lots of rain to get it started. They grow like weeds down here. Where are you?

minnie
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Re: Elderflower champagne

Postby minnie » Sat Nov 14, 2009 11:46 am

Hi Sara,

Off to read your adventures...

I'm in North East (North Rivers) NSW - subtropical. Where we are is frost free, wet summer and dry winters. They grow the last Australian Mangoes for the Mango season here.

DH said it grew well in Lismore and it was in a shady spot, but it didn't like flood. ;)
:D
Vicki

ellengray
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Re: Elderflower champagne

Postby ellengray » Sat Nov 14, 2009 12:35 pm

Hope it grows for you. I have just started another and bigger batch of the champagne!

minnie
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Re: Elderflower champagne

Postby minnie » Sat Nov 14, 2009 2:52 pm

Hi Sara,

DH (the loooong time brewer) thinks you need to 'ferment' it a bit longer before bottling, I think it was ferment.

If you want I can ask him exactly?
:D
Vicki

alicelt
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Re: Elderflower champagne

Postby alicelt » Sat Nov 14, 2009 3:10 pm

Hi Vicki

I've kinda replied in the chat thread LOL I waffled a little then moved it over then and waffled some more *grin*

Ali

ellengray
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Re: Elderflower champagne

Postby ellengray » Sun Nov 15, 2009 4:49 am

Vicki - yes, I think so, too. Thus far I've been giving it a week ... how much longer does he reckon? I started off a new batch yesterday.

I can't believe how much the first lot fermented! (And continues to ferment ...)

minnie
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Re: Elderflower champagne

Postby minnie » Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:51 am

Hi Sara,

He said if he were making the recipe he'd do it exactly but would totally ferment (ie no more bubbles) it before bottling, then he'd add on teaspoon(small bottle or two for 1 bottle) of sugar per bottle, so that it gets it's bubbles back in the bottle. This is what he does with beer and has done with other brewed alcohol beverages.

You can use a hydrometer but then you have to do lots calculations (which he used to do a long time ago). The hydrometer will tell you when fermentation is finished. But if you look and it's stopped bubbling it will tell you just as well.

Hope that helps.
:D
Vicki


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