Thursday, 22 May 2014

Elderflower wine - Part One

It's the time of year when everything has started to come to life. The vegetable patch is showing signs that any day now I will be enjoying a fresh harvest from it; My quick crops of radishes and lettuce are already in full swing; But most importantly for this recipe the hedgerows are beginning to flourish.

I've not made elderflower wine before, a smallholders staple by all accounts, only available for a short time but in abundance at the moment. My enthusiasm is partly spurred on by the success of my last home brew. Having received John Wright's River cottage handbook for Christmas I made a batch of the quick ginger beer; explosive as it was it tasted fantastic and only took a week or so from the initial brewing to actual getting to drink some.
This one is going to take a little longer maybe a month or two, which in the world of brewing is still remarkably quick.

I started by picking the elderflowers on a sunny morning, they were only a two minute walk from the house so I had been keeping an eye on them over the past week, waiting for them and the weather to be at their prime. As soon as I got them home, after checking them over for any unwanted wildlife, I separated the flowers from the stalk with a combination of the back of a fork and my finger tips into a sterilised bucket.

The juice and rind of four lemons was then added along with eight hundred grams of sugar. Two and a half litres of freshly boiled water then went in and it was all stirred together until the sugar was fully dissolved.

Another three litres of cold water then went in a the whole mixture was left to cool. once it had reached room temperature five grams of wine yeast were added it was again all stirred together.

That's it, easy so far. I now need to stir it once a day for four days then let it settle for a day before transferring to demi-johns. It's certainly smelling good at the moment and the simplicity of it all makes amazes me.

I'll post another update once bottled and more importantly once tasted, if these first steps are anything to go by I'll certainly be making this one agian.

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