Sunday, 2 December 2012

Elder Flower Mishaps

A silly thing really, my partner and I went to make elder-flower champagne and following the River Cottage recipe went out one sunny day and collected the flowers.  We made up a batch and shared it around, it had a really clean taste with a refreshing fizz and we were very proud of ourselves.  Then one evening entertaining, a friend of ours casually pointed out that the neighbours had a tree growing in their backyard, in which we disputed as being something entirely different.  Well after much debate and the help of our neighbour correctly identifying it as elder-flower we soon discovered that our little concoction was in fact a refreshing champagne made out of Hawthorn flower, which grows un-kept along roadsides and river-streams, left over from colonial days.  We are now making the correct beverage with elder-flowers but I can highly recommend using Hawthorn instead to create a rustic if not more peasant style drink.  Just keep in mind that Hawthorn or elder-flower growing along the side of the road is probably covered in residue from car fumes, its best to pick flowers growing further away from roadsides.  We picked ours along the rivulet in South Hobart.

Just an update, we had a lot of trouble with the fermentation process of this drink.  The champagne bottles all blew their tops, but one, and unfortunately we ended up wasting a lot. The Grolsch bottles we used were more successful, however, required a very patient and careful approach to opening, by gradually letting off the gas.  Aside from the disastrous result the little we did save tasted absolutely delicious and was a nice refreshing accompaniment to Christmas lunch.  At least none of the bottles actually exploded!

Here's the recipe we used:

I just read this beautiful article in the Gardening Australia's Organic Newsletter on Elder flower and its properties.  It really sums up how lovely this plant is, presenting it in a different light and moving away from the notion that it is just a pesky weed with little use, as sadly many other weeds are often lumped.  It also provides a recipe for Elder flower cordial which is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. Also if the birds have spared you some berries left, now (Feb-April) is the time to be making Elderberry cordial. Containing more Vitamin C than black currant cordial!

Here is a link to the article:

© Tasmaniasfeast 2012/13.



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