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Requested Recipe:

ELDERFLOWER WINE

"I am a first time wine maker and would like recipies
for making...Elderflower Wine" Andrew Gillard, United Kingdom


ELDERFLOWERS

The American elder (Sambucus canadensis), European black elder (Sambucus nigra), blue elder (Sambucus cerulea or S. coerulea), Mexican elder (Sambucus mexicana), New Mexican elder (Sambucus neomexicana), American black elder (Sambucus melanocarpa), and Eurasian dwarf elder (Sambucus ebulus), are the most common of the elders, also known commonly as elderberries. Usually a shrub, elders can grow into small trees with broad, rounded crowns. The fruit of all varieties are slightly bitter when eaten raw but lose their bitterness when cooked, dried or fermented (see recipes for Elderberry Wines elsewhere on this site). However, the American red (or red-fruited) elder (Sambucus pubens) is somewhat toxic and the Pacific elder (Sambucus callicarpa) and coast elder (Sambucus microbotrys) are very bitter -- even sour -- but not considered poisonous. The European red elder (Sambucus racemosa) is known to be emetic when the berries are eaten raw, but it is thought that the seeds, not the juice, pulp or skins, are the toxic component.

However, the white or whitish-yellow flowers of all species and varieties 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.

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]

My thanks to Andrew Gillard of the UK for the request.


This page was updated on August 20th, 1999

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