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Elderflowers


"Light, fragrant, wonderful chilled."

The American elder (Sambucus canadensis) and it's cousins (see Elderberry Wines elsewhere on this site) are reknown for their rich red wines, but the white or whitish-yellow flowers from this prolific plant are pleasantly fragrant and impart a muscat flavor to wines, ciders and vinegars. They are also edible and can be fried in fritter batter, added to pancake or muffin batter, cooked into pies and tarts, and added fresh to salads or many other food dishes. Here, however, our interest in the wines, perfect when served chilled on hot Texas summer afternoons.

Elderflower wine is an acquired taste and not appreciated by everyone. Too many flowers will yield an almost undrinkable wine, so do not exceed the amount in the recipes below. The second recipe yields a fuller-bodied wine and is more drinkable to a wider population than the first because of the addition of the grape juice concentrate.


ELDERFLOWER WINE (1)



Put water on to boil. Meanwhile, separate flowers from stalks and wash to remove insects and road dust. Put flowers and sugar in primary and pour boiling water over them. Stir well to dissolve sugar, cover with sterile cloth, and set aside several hours until cool. Add acid blend, crushed Campden and yeast nutrient, stirring briefly. Recover and set aside for 24 hours. Add yeast. Ferment six days, strain off flowers, pour liquor into secondary, and fit airlock. Rack when specific gravity is at 1.005, top up and refit airlock. After additional three months, stabilize, sweeten to taste, wait ten days, and rack into bottles. Age six months before tasting. [Adapted from Steven A. Krause's Wines from the Wild]


ELDERFLOWER WINE (2)



Thaw out grape juice concentrate and then put water on to boil. While water rises to a boil, separate flowers from stalks and wash to remove insects and road dust. Put flowers, sugar and grape juice concentrate in primary and pour boiling water over them. Stir well to dissolve sugar, cover with sterile cloth, and set aside several hours until cool. Add acid blend, crushed Campden and yeast nutrient, stirring briefly. Recover and set aside for 24 hours. Add yeast. Ferment six days, strain off flowers, pour liquor into secondary, and fit airlock. Rack when specific gravity is at 1.005, top up and refit airlock. After additional three months, stabilize, sweeten to taste, wait ten days, and rack into bottles. Age six months before tasting. [Author's own recipe]


This page was updated on September 26th, 2003

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