Over the past 10-days or so, I've been harvesting the Elder blooms to make batches of elderflower "champagne." I've never made this before, though I have made other wild fermented beverages. I was inspired to make this soft-drink by Susun Weed's recent video. And I am glad, for this is a delicious, sparkling and loving wild ferment!
Susun's recipe, for a one gallon batch, calls for:
1 gallon of boiled water
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
a handful of dried lemon rind
7 elderflower blooms
I've been working with single, one gallon batches, which has afforded me the opportunity to play with added ingredients like this elderflower/black currant variation (pictured). I've made others with additions of hibiscus and rose petals and orange peel. I have over a dozen bottles of various sizes crowding my dining table. We definitely need more shelves in our main living space … I don't dare put these downstairs in the pantry cabinets for fear I forget about them, for they are intended as soft-drinks, to be imbibed not long after their bottling, as they are volatile and could become what brewers call "bottle bombs."
Today I'll be creating a batch (or two) that will receive a full second fermentation to be bottled as wine. It's an experiment, one that may or may not yield enjoyable results, but I have a Good feeling about it. To make the wine I'll be adding an organic banana to the simmer as well as organic/fair-trade camilla sinensis (black tea). The banana adds to the mouth-feel and the tea will offer some tannic acid to enhance the dryness that I love in my wines and meads.
While I still have elder budding, it is blooming fast .
Many blooms are already moving into the phase of berry production.
So I don't have much time left to make this happen. And the bees (of every variety) are, like me, acting with a sense of urgency, so negotiating for the blooms poses added challenges! But happen it shall, and I look forward to the months ahead (possibly a year or more) to taste how this wine matures.
The magic of the elder is worth preserving. In so many ways.
That's what I'm making today.