Elderflower Champagne (Part 1)

For the last 3 years I have made up batches of elderflower champagne and beer. First year was spectacular, second year ok. Last year I had a burst of 30 degree days that blew up a bunch of my bottles but what was left was fantastic.

On the weekend I noticed that the local elderflower flowers where starting to get to the point where they were ready for making a batch of elderflower champagne. So on the Sunday morning which is the best time to pick them I ducked out nice and early and grabbed about 50 elderflower heads which took me about 10 minutes.

50 heads makes up around 20 liters which is what I base most of my brewing on as I have this size food grade bucket. So I sterilised the 20 liter bucket I use for bucket brewing added hot water and couple of kg of white sugar and just for something different half a kilogram of brown sugar to add a slightly different flavour.

In goes some white wine vinegar

My daughter watched as I removed as much stem as possible to reduce bitterness just leaving mostly flowers.

My parents where down on Friday so I got a nice big bag of lemons which was timely. Cut up the equivalent of 8 big lemons. Juiced them and dropped the juiced lemons in as well. A lot of recipes recommend that you zest the lemon but this is very much bucket brewing and I have tried both ways and can see no difference in taste so I take the easy way out.

 

Wait till the water is around body temperature and add the elderflowers.

Stir through with a sterilised spoon (always use some boiling water to sterilise anything you use in this process including knifes and chopping boards, if you put down a spoon sterilise it again before reuse)

Cover with a clean tea towel or other cloth and stir every morning or night (remember to sterilise the spoon each time)

I have left it in a warm spot in the kitchen (it smells great) and I will check it in a few days and If it is not bubbling from natural yeast fermenting I will add some champagne yeast to it.(more posts to follow up to bottling and of course tasting)

I am going to add some more bucket brewing stuff over this summer now it is warm enough to brew again. It seems odd but you can turn out some good brews with a plastic bucket but the biggest trick is sterilise sterilise sterilise everything you use.

Ingredients

  • 40 – 50 elderflower heads picked either early in the morning or at dusk (morning is best)
  • 2 kg of white sugar
  • ½ kg of brown sugar (optional)
  • 8 table spoons of white wine vinegar
  • Equivalent of 8 – 10 lemons juiced and then juice and lemon thrown in
  • Yeast if it does not start to bubble after 2 or so days (I use ale or champagne yeast)
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Buy Nothing New in October

Well buy nothing new month got an early start yesterday. The youngest boy is going through his bash and crash stage and took out the set top box by dragging it out snapping some pins in it and hurling it aside…

Needless to say it was not working. Being a geek as well as an urban hippie I pulled it apart and was able to remove the broken cable ends and had a spare cable. All put back together and all working.

It is buy nothing new month http://www.buynothingnew.com.au/why/ in October.

We have made decision to do this for October and to be honest we have already listed some caveats (at the bottom of the post) but I am really looking forward to it. Yesterday I did the last run to Bunnings to grab a few items I need for a hot house I am building and as I did so I thought no more time wasted in places like this. If it takes longer then it takes longer to source or find.

Now a very serious disclaimer here. I am most defiantly not suggesting that you fix things unless you know what exactly what you are doing. Electrocution and house fires are not good. BE VERY VERY CAREFUL WITH REPAIRS IF IN DOUBT DON’T!

Working in IT this is my skill set and at the end of the day my 30 minutes spent repairing this was well spent saving $50 for a new set top box and reducing waste.

  • For others it might be just pulling out some clothes they have not worn in a cupboard for a party rather buying a new outfit.
  • Shopping second hand (even I do not mind a visiting second hand stores)
  • Make something as a present.
  • Baking someone a present.
  • Looking for a repaired or renewed item from a local repairer
  • Or Gaffer tape repairing my poor old wheel barrow.

For me repair and using second hand items is very much the way of the urban hippie and it is something I recommend to everyone. At the end of the day taking responsibility for your own life is something we all need to do. Outsourcing your life makes you vulnerable to being owned by your employer and the system. The more you can do the more you are free.

It is also fun to learn new skills and do new stuff.

This can only be a win, win for you and the world.

The group running this also makes some interesting points on the politics of purchasing. Sadly your dollar may be worth more than your vote these days and voting with your dollar is something you need to think about. But that is a post for another day.

I will post at the end of the month on how we went and what we would do differently next time.

Exemptions for Buy Nothing New Month.

  • Bee keeping equipment for when A.’s nucleus hive arrives
  • Netting if we need to net fruit.