Popping Your Cork!

Popping Your Cork!

November 2, 2018 0 By Foragers Folly
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Elderflower Champagne 

Hi there!  It’s time to share my elderflower champagne recipe with you. The good news is, you can make this champagne before Christmas, and you’ll then be ‘popping your cork’ in time for New Year. Cheers!

Since my last post, my cheeky sidekick, Caber, and I have been busy foraging. Together, we’ve been gathering mushrooms, Sea Buckthorn, Rosehips, Sloes and Hawthorn berries. (Phew!) With all those lovely ingredients I’m now cooking up a storm in the kitchen. 

Winter Blues

I’m nursing a winter cold at the moment, working hard to conjure up some warm, cosy feelings, trying to remember my elderflower foraging from earlier in the year. 

I’m more likely to guarantee a warm, rosy glow if I drink the elderflower champagne!  Never mind ‘popping your cork’, I’m off to pop one of my own! Now that sounds like a plan…someone’s got to try it after all…

“I only drink Champagne on two occasions, when I am in love and when I am not.”

Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel Certainly Enjoyed Popping Her Cork! 

June seems so far away now doesn’t it?  Elderflowers start to bloom around May or June and, to me, it’s one of the first signs that summer is sweeping in. Unfortunately, now all I have left is a distant memory of our glorious summer, as the leaves begin to fall and winter starts to creep in.

Did You Know?

The Elder Tree is steeped in folklore and fairy tales.  It’s said the bark was used to create magic wands.  Folklore has it that, once upon a time, witches would merge themselves into the wood of the Elder Tree, hence the magic wands! Little did they know that we would be making champagne from the flowers in the 21st century. Who needs magic when you can have champagne darling. 

Oops, I went a little off track there! Let me share a wee bit more about the elderflower…

You’ll find that this plant grows in abundance around Scotland and is found in hedgerows, woods and along road sides.

How to Identify Elderflowers

Popping your Cork

The flower has delicate creamy, white petals with pinpricks of yellow at its centre and boasts a sweet, flowery scent.  This delicate perfume can be tasted in the champagne, giving it a light, crisp flavour.

Make a habit of having a quick sniff of the flower heads as you pick them.  Once the flower starts to age they can smell a bit like cat wee, or give off a more ‘musky’ type of aroma. Avoid picking those heads, as the smell will transfer into the taste of the champagne. You definitely don’t want that to happen.

Elderflowers grow in ‘sprays’ and when foraging, you should pick the entire head. You’ll  also find it’s a good idea to forage in the morning, before insects descend on the nectar for their lunch! Never take all the flowers from a tree, always make sure you leave enough behind for the rest of nature to enjoy and for Mother Nature to work her magic on further.

Popping your Cork

Once you get the flowers home, give them a wee shake, then leave them to lie out for a couple of hours. Any insects will normally crawl away at this stage. Don’t worry about the stragglers, you’ll be sieving the flower heads from the first stage liquid and they’ll come along with them. I suppose you could also boast that your elderflower champagne has protein in it, always a bonus!

So, now that I’ve helped you to identify and find this flower, why don’t you pop over to the ‘Recipes’ page for my yummy Elderflower Champagne Recipe and give it a go… Its time to start ‘popping your cork’.

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