It's now a year since my first experiments with homebrew and it feels that things have come full circle (for some reason, harvesting this year's dandelions didn't have the same impact on me). As soon as our elder tree started flowering, a couple of weeks ago, I got very excited about picking some flowers to start the next batch of elderflower champagne. There was just one problem...
Actually, there were two problems. Not only were the flowers a long way from the ground, but the ground had a good covering of nettles and brambles. The second problem was tractable, though, and after a lot of careful work with the secateurs, I'd cleared a space around the tree. This didn't get me much closer to the flowers, though - more tools were needed. With the aid of the branch loppers (six foot long secateurs - effective, but difficult) and a step ladder (not to be recommended) I managed to pick a few heads of flowers.
I didn't really have as much as I would have liked, though, so I supplemented them with a few roses and three very small, unripe strawberries. The resulting mix was very pretty in the wine bucket.
After last year's explosion, I've played safe and put it in plastic bottles, which are far less attractive than glass wine bottles. They're also bigger. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. One advantage of plastic is that you can judge whether the drink's getting fizzy by squeezing the bottle. I did, and the first one - the last one filled, that is, with less liquid and more yeast because it has the dregs from the bottom of the bucket - was getting very tight, so I opened it for testing.
It was most delicious! I then got carried away and opened a second bottle, which was still very sweet, but tasty nonetheless. I think I'm going to have to find a way of harvesting more flowers to make a second batch of this.
About this blog
- Wales, United Kingdom
- In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.