Fancy making some summer fizz?

Foraging gets bubbly

by Adrienne Wyper

Sometimes the best things in life really are free*.

I love elderflower 'champagne', although I haven't tasted it for some years, since friends used to make it for their summer picnic parties (hello Rod and Helen!). You can't buy it in the shops (although if anyone knows different, please let me know). A recipe was published in a national newspaper last year, but unfortunately about a week too late for where I live; the elderflowers had already faded. Having waited a year, I was determined not to miss the season this year.

I searched for recipes online and - wary of tales of exploding glass bottles due to gas pressure - I went with one that suggested using two-litre plastic drinks bottles.

So here's what you do: pick five or six elderflower heads, preferably on a sunny day. Choose elder trees that aren't on a busy road, and avoid flowers lower down that may be contaminated by the urine of dogs, foxes, or even humans...

I picked a couple overhanging my garden, a couple from the side of our not-busy-at-all road, and a couple from a tree by a field nearby. Pick off any insects etc before using. Don't run the flowers under the tap or you'll wash the natural yeasts off.

To make: pour 20 litres of cold water into a plastic bucket of at least 25 litres capacity. Stir in 1kg of ordinary sugar until dissolved. Drop in the flower heads and stir to submerge. Add the zest and juice of two lemons and 4tbsp white wine vinegar. Stir to mix, then lay a clean teatowel over the bucket and leave for 24 hrs, stirring occasionally.

This is the point I have reached. Tonight, I'll pour the liquid through a sieve to remove the detritus, then pour though a funnel into my collection of plastic bottles (sterilised by swilling around with boiling water). Then the bottles will be left for at least two weeks. The beauty of using plastic bottles is that you can see them becoming rigid as the fermenting causes carbon dioxide to build up, and you can unscrew the top to release some of the pressure. After two weeks you can drink it.

Fingers crossed that it all goes to plan - I'll keep you posted. Cheers!

Read more on foraging here

*water from the tap, sugar and vinegar from the cupboard. I did buy the lemons...

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About The Authors

Carla  Griscti

Carla Griscti

Editorial assistant on allaboutyou; Music lover, travel bee and food fanatic.

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Emma Marsden

Emma Marsden

Food consultant of All About You, loves creating something out of nothing and decluttering.

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Bernadette  Fallon

Bernadette Fallon

Editor of All About You; an online journalist with a fetish for glossy magazines.

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Adrienne  Wyper

Adrienne Wyper

Deputy editor of All About You. I love cycling, cooking and creating

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Carol  Muskoron

Carol Muskoron

Associate editor of All About You, loves life (mostly) and one-pan recipes (always).

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