"I'm emailing from Cornwall, UK with a request for a gorse flower recipe. I'm pretty
sure you have gorse over there! Its a thorny shrub with golden flowers and an intoxicating
scent of coconut that fills the air on a still summer's day...." Ross Collins, Cornwall, UK
Gorse (Ulex sp.) is closely related to the brooms, and like them, has green stems, very small leaves and adapts to dry growing conditions, but differs in that its leaves have evolved into 1-4 cm long spines. All the species have yellow flowers.
The most widely familiar species is the Common gorse (Ulex europaeus), the only species native in most of western Europe. It is also the largest species, reaching 2-3 meters in height; this compares with typically 0.2-0.4 meters for Western gorse (U. gallii). Common gorse was brought to the Americas as an ornamental, but soon escaped into the wild and now is an invasive weed.
Common gorse flowers most strongly in spring, though it bears some flowers year round. The flowers have a very distinctive strong coconut scent. Western gorse and Dwarf gorse differ in being almost entirely late summer flowering (August-September in Britain), and also have somewhat darker yellow flowers than Common gorse.
Picking the flowers can be a chore, as the spines seem relentless. But the reward is a wine that is most enjoyable,
Put the flowers into primary immediately. Boil half the water, half the sugar and the chopped raisins together for 1 to 2 minutes, then pour over flowers. Thinly peel the rind from the oranges and the lemons and add rind (no pith) to primary. Squeeze out the juice and add that too, but not the pulp. Add the tannin and stir thoroughly. Add cold water to bring total to 1 gallon. When water cools to 90 degrees F, or less, add the activated yeast and yeast nutrient, stir well and cover. Ferment 3 days, stirring twice daily, then add remaining sugar and stir to dissolve. Recover primary and continue stirring twice daily until fermentation subsides or s.g. drops below 1.020. Strain through a sieve or cloth and transfer to a gallon secondary. Fit airlock and set in warm place. Rack after 30 days and again when clear, wait a month and rack again. Stabilize, wait 30 days, and sweeten to 1.004-1.006. Wait additional 30 days, rack into bottles and age 6 months before tasting it. [Author's own recipe.]
My thanks to Ross Collins for requesting this recipe.