Fresh elderflower makes for the best Elderflower Wine for Christmas.

Prepare now for Christmas… with elderflower wine!

There’s no time like the present to get your Christmas gifts ready with something unique and handmade such as elderflower wine. Pick elderflowers now while they’re in season and

It’s been a rough start to the year for all of us, and we still don’t quite know how the second half will go. Now that we have much more time at home currently, this is the time to take advantage of that extra time and do the things that we’ve always wanted to do, but just haven’t had a chance to.

It’s also still unclear what will happen with shops and shopping. Even if lockdown eases, some of our favourite shops may, unfortunately, have already closed down. And depending on if the “second wave” hits and lockdown is reinstated, we may not be able to freely go to the shops for last minute Christmas shopping.

The perfect solution here then is to make elderflower wine! Elderflower wine takes some time until it’s ready for drinking – around 6 months – meaning it’ll be ready just in time for Christmas.

Photo Credit: Conor Tilson Photography

I’ve always enjoyed the flavour of elderflower. Whether it’s in a cocktail or simply a cordial with sparkling water, the fresh taste reminds me of summer. And as we’re coming into summer, this is also the best time to pick fresh elderflower. Picking flowers is an activity that can be done while being mindful of social distancing and is a great reason to get outside and soak up some sun. It also doesn’t hurt to get out of the city and reconnect with nature, especially if we’ve been confined to our homes for a while now.

What do these things have to do with each other? As I’ve advocated previously, there’s nothing quite like a thoughtful, personalised gift that is unique and even more so if it has been hand-made by you. Now, with all of this extra time on our hands, one of the few activities we can safely do is pick elderflower. To learn more about foraging for fresh flowers and plants including elderflower, then I highly recommend the Foraging in Summer online course by Robin Harford and also the informative Edible Wild Plants and Herbs by Pamela Michael that has an entire chapter dedicated to elderflower.

Photo Credit: Conor Tilson Photography

The perfect solution here then is to make elderflower wine! Elderflower wine takes some time until it’s ready for drinking – around 6 months – meaning it’ll be ready just in time for Christmas. It’s unique (how often do you see this in shops?), made by you and best of all – tastes amazing! What better way to get ahead of the rush for Christmas and not be caught off-guard when it’s gift-giving time?

Elderflower wine, like normal wine from grapes, comes in a few varieties such as red or white and even a sparkling version (think Champagne). To learn more about the art of making elderflower wine, I asked Sal Hanvey who’s been making and perfecting elderflower wine for over ten years now.

Sal is a nutrition advisor and contributor on U105FM, her local radio station in Northern Ireland. She runs the ‘Stir Crazy’ Cookalong Classes online and is a keen forager. She learnt her skills in Dartmoor forest in Devon, England. Sal is also an award winning therapist working in the areas of Acupuncture and Reflexology. To find out more info on Sal you can visit her website: www.naturalhealthni.co.uk.

Sal has been kind enough to share with us her recipes and talk us through the process.

Elderflower Wine

Sal Hanvey
Create your own wine from freshly foraged elderflower
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 2 hrs
Fermenting Time 21 d
Total Time 21 d 2 hrs
Course Drinks
Cuisine European
Servings 15 bottles

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Sterilise all utensils, including the wooden spoon
  • If using fresh elderflower heads, use a fork to take the flowers off into the bucket
    If using dried elderflower, pour directly into the bucket
  • Add the boiling water
  • Add the sugar
  • Add the zest and juice of the lemons
  • Add the yeast packet
  • Add the cold water
  • Stir everything evenly
  • Use the thermometer to make sure the liquid is at roughly 18C
    (Higher will destroy the yeast, lower will not activate the yeast)
  • Store in the dark, warm airing cupboard for 2-3 weeks with the lid on the bucket
  • Using the muslin cloth as a sieve over the jug, scoop out the liquid mix ladle by ladle. The resulting liquid should be clear
  • Use the funnel to fill the wine bottles from the jug. You may have to repeat these steps depending on how big your jug is and how many bottles you can fill
  • Cork and label your bottles then store in the dark airing cupboard at room temperature

Notes

Wait six months minimum after bottling before cracking open and drinking your wine. Your wine should also be good for storing for up to two years.
Each bottle will be approximately 9% ABV.
Keyword Elderflower, Wine
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Sparkling Elderflower Wine

Sal Hanvey
Create your own sparkling wine from freshly foraged elderflower
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 2 hrs
Fermenting Time 21 d
Total Time 21 d 2 hrs
Course Drinks
Cuisine European
Servings 15 bottles

Ingredients
  

  • 3 kg Sugar And some extra to add directly to the bottles
  • 3 Lemons unwaxed, zested and juiced
  • 200 g Dried Elderflower; or
  • 50 Fresh Elderflower Heads Fresh is best!
  • 7 g Dried Champagne Yeast (1 pack)
  • 1.5 L Boiled Water
  • 8.5 L Cold Water

Instructions
 

  • Sterilise all utensils, including the wooden spoon
  • If using fresh elderflower heads, use a fork to take the flowers off into the bucket
    If using dried elderflower, pour directly into the bucket
  • Add the boiling water
  • Add the sugar
  • Add the zest and juice of the lemons
  • Add the yeast packet
  • Add the cold water
  • Stir everything evenly
  • Use the thermometer to make sure the liquid is at roughly 18C
    (Higher will destroy the yeast, lower will not activate the yeast)
  • Store in the dark, warm airing cupboard for 2-3 weeks with the lid on the bucket
  • Add 2 teaspoons of sugar into each Champagne bottle using the funnel
  • Using the muslin cloth as a sieve over the jug, scoop out the liquid mix ladle by ladle. The resulting liquid should be clear
  • Use the funnel to fill the wine bottles from the jug. You may have to repeat these steps depending on how big your jug is and how many bottles you can fill
  • Cork and label your bottles and add the metal cage, not forgetting to twist it tight
  • Store in the dark airing cupboard at room temperature

Notes

Wait four weeks minimum after bottling before cracking open and drinking your sparkling wine. Your sparkling wine should also be good for storing up to 18 months.
Each bottle will be approximately 9% ABV.
Keyword Elderflower, Sparkling Wine
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

In our modern world, the gift-giving game has been taken to a whole new level. Giftology has become a swanky word on everyone’s minds, especially during December. Now having the advantage of time, you can be a master gift-giver yourself with the gift of nature (fresh elderflowers you picked yourself) and time (needed for the wine to mature).

What else can say “I thought of you already in June” than an elegant and subtle elderflower wine. Now that sounds like a special and unique gift to me!

Have you tried to make Sal’s elderflower wine? Let us know how it turned out for you!

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