Elderflower Champagne recipe home brew sparkling wine delicous alcohol forage foraged forager foraging bushcraft wildfood cheap thrifty

Home Brew: Elderflower Champagne

Cheap Food / on a Budget, Making & DIY, Thrifty

Making Elderflower Champagne is a fantastic way of turning free, foraged ingredients and low-cost store cupboard ingredients, into a few large bottles of actual alcohol. If you are new to making home brew, Elderflower Champagne is a great place to start.

Elderflower champagne recipe home brew for foragers foraging forager foraged

Elderflowers in bloom

This drink is so cheap and easy to make. The result is a delicious, elegant drink that you can take to a picnic or BBQ and share with friends, or just enjoy at home on a summer’s evening when you fancy something refreshing.

Foraging for Elderflower is pretty simple and the flowers are easy to spot. They have a creamy white colour with a very distinctive smell. They appear in large, flat heads in early summer, usually at the end of May and beginning of June. Elderflower heads should be picked as they are just coming into flower. You can read more about Elderflower varieties on Wikipedia here: Elderflower

Elderflower Champagne Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 6 large heads of Elderflower (gently shake the heads to remove any insects but do not wash them as you will need all the blossom to ferment your brew!)
  • 4 ½ Litres of water
  • 2 sliced lemons
  • 450g granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar

Make it:

Elderflower champagne recipe home brew lemons sugar bowl brewing

Leave to steep in water for up to 36 hours

  1. Add the 6 heads of Elderflower, and the sliced lemons to the 4 ½ litres of water in a large bowl. You can split between a couple of bowls if you like. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel to keep insects away and Leave the mixture to steep for 24-36 hours
  2. Strain your mixture through a sieve into another bowl – you can now discard the Elderflower and lemon slices
  3. Add the 450g of sugar and the 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar and give it a good stir
  4. Pour into clean plastic bottles with screw top lids – close the lid but not tightly. As the mixture ferments the pressure will build in the bottles and you will need to release the pressure every couple of days. Releasing the pressure
    Elderflower champagne recipe home brew sparkling wine delicous home brew brewing foraged foraging forage forager elderflowers

    Serve chilled and enjoy!

    avoids an exploding bottle and an Elderflower-flavoured kitchen

  5. Keep releasing the pressure every couple of days for 4-5 weeks. If you like you can do the occasional taste test during this time, as the longer you leave it, the drier (and stronger) the drink gets
  6. After the above fermentation time of about 5 weeks, firmly close each bottle and store in a cool dark place, until you are ready to drink!
  7. This drink will keep for months in the cupboard… but it doesn’t usually get a chance to! Tastes best if it has been chilled in the fridge for a couple of hours

 

Enjoy home brewing!

You might also enjoy this earlier post with a home brew Sloe Gin recipe: Make it: Sloe Gin

 

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Dandelion jam jelly honey make home-made thrifty sustainability gift present DIY

Make it: Dandelion Jam

Making & DIY, Thrifty

Dandelion Jam is a really unusual, but delicious treat. It is unlikely to be in your local supermarket or even your local farm shop. The fact that it is hard to Dandelion jam jelly honey make home-made thrifty sustainability gift present DIYget hold of makes this jam a brilliant home-made gift for friends.

Try Dandelion Jam on toast or scones, pair it with cream cheese, use it as a glaze or salad dressing… think of how you might use honey and try using Dandelion Jam instead. It’s tasty!

Getting into a thrifty mindset, it is a good idea to make and prepare DIY Gifts all year round so that you have a little stockpile of beautifully-made, special presents – ready to give to your loved ones, family and friends. With this gift idea you can put even more thought into the design by personalising and decorating the labels that you stick on each jar.

Foraging Dandelions

Dandelion jam jelly honey make home-made thrifty sustainability gift present DIY dandelions

Dandelions flower in the Spring and in Autumn too, so you have two chances to forage for this recipe.

When picking your Dandelion flowers, make sure that you are picking them from an area that has not been sprayed with weed killers or insecticides, you don’t want that stuff in your yummy jam.

If you pick too many dandelions, you can freeze the leftover flowers for a later date.

You will need:

First off you will need clean, sterilised, glass jars with lids. You can shop around kitchen stores or supermarkets during the sales to find cheap, empty jam and preserve jars, or you can save even more money by recycling your empty jam and chutney jars.

To recycle your own jars, ensure you wash each jar and lid thoroughly then when you have a good stash, sterilise in bulk, all the jars and lids using sterilising solution. You can buy a pot of sterilising powder for under £2 which will make a few batches of sterilising solution – available from anywhere that sells home-brewing equipment, or here is one from Amazon – VWP Cleanser and sterilser – 100g

 

Dandelion Jam Recipe

Ingredients:
  • 300 yellow dandelion flower heads
  • 1kg sugar
  • 1000 ml water (about a pint and 3/4)
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1x sachet of fruit pectin – or if you have a box of pectin powder follow
    instructions on the box (you can add more pectin for a thicker jam)
Method:

Dandelion jam jelly honey make home-made thrifty sustainability gift present DIY dandelions

  1. Wash the flower heads throughly in cold water
  2. Pluck or cut the yellow flower from the small green leaves that hold it, it’s ok if a few small green bits are still in the mix, but ideally you just want the yellow flower for this jam. The small green leaves have a bitter taste and can turn the jam a light green, so it is worth the extra effort. Prepare yourself for sticky yellow fingers during this bit
  3. Mix water with sugar and bring to boil in a pan
  4. Add the flower heads to the mix, Bring to the boil and simmer for 20mins
  5. 2-3 mins before the 20mins is up add the lemon juice
  6. Remove pan from heat and allow to stand for 24hrs
  7. Dandelion jam jelly honey make home-made thrifty sustainability gift present DIYPour mixture through a sieve into a new pan to remove the flower heads (you can leave some of the petals in the mix if you like, they are edible and look really great in the finished jam – a bit like yellow marmalade)
  8. Simmer mixture on a low heat for 20 mins
  9. Add pectin 3-4 mins before the end, bring to boil and then boil for a further 5 mins
  10. When finished, you should have a clear yellowish jam that smells like honey and tastes absolutely delicious! Pour the warm jam into warm, sterilised, dry jam jars. Pop on the lids, then label and date

If you would prefer to make dandelion syrup, just leave out the pectin.

 

Did you know?
  • Dandelion flowers have antioxidant properties
  • Don’t waste the Dandelion greens either, they can be eaten raw as salad or cooked like spinach. Dandelion greens contain vitamins A, B and C, along with potassium and iron

 

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