It's elderflower season!

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British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,534
404
Mercia
In the past we used to do "make along" threads, competitions etc. Over on Twitter we were asked for country wine tips so decided to do a "brew along" series of videos. I know there used to be a lot of beer & wine makers here (Mr Fenna springs to mind ) so though it might be fun to share them here. The videos are spaced out so there will be one for each major step.

Are there still homebrewers here? If so, what's your favourite brew?

 

Robbi

Full Member
Mar 1, 2009
9,133
317
northern ireland
Hello BR how are you guys ? well I trust. good to see you again.

Madam Robbi has decried that elderflower smells like cat pee and won't let it any where near the house........ however, Sloe Gin is acceptable and some bloody awful Vodka concoction is reputedly worth a try....oh, and Christmas Whisky is ok in small sips.
 

Woody girl

Full Member
Mar 31, 2018
2,733
1,832
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Exmoor
Some elderflower does smell a bit like cat pee. Try sniffing the of flowers of different trees untill you find some sweet ones and pick only those.
Sadly my local council have decided to tidy up a bit and my two best elders are no more. :( :(
 

John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
21,811
1,285
63
Pembrokeshire
Well hello - it has been a long time!
Unfortunately I no longer make wine - we replaced the open fire with a logburner and had to line the inglenook fireplace chimney... and the chimney breast in my bedroom no longer gets warm. As this was my fermenting place I no longer have anywhere to let my wines "work" and until I discover a space in my crowded cottage where I can build a fermenting cupboard the demijons lie idle.
I still make Sloe Gin, Blackberry Vodka, Elderflower Cordial etc - but no wines...
In a couple of weeks I am leading a "botanicals forage" for a DIY gin event at the place I do Bushcraft intro sessions - so that might be the way forward :)
Locally distilled gin, local plants - it all sounds good...
 

Woody girl

Full Member
Mar 31, 2018
2,733
1,832
62
Exmoor
That gin botanicals forage sounds great. I too no longer make wines and beer as I once did and make flavoured spirits instead. Vodka is a great base for flavourings of all sorts. Apple pie vodka was a great favorite last year. I rarely drink myself so I have a lovely collection of drinks on the top of my fridge. I may have to bring some to the moot and share them with everyone so I have room to make some more. Cheers!
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
3,425
2,613
Mid Wales
Like John, I no longer make wine though our Elderflower was one of our very best especially as a sparkling wine. However, I have started making my own spirit (purely for personal consumption only) and I've been investigating the botanicals in our wood that may be interesting flavours and Elderflower is definitely up there. We could compare notes John :) (maybe over a taste or two at the Moot? :))

Edit: that's three for the Gin tasting then :)
 
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British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,534
404
Mercia
Hello BR how are you guys ? well I trust. good to see you again.

Madam Robbi has decried that elderflower smells like cat pee and won't let it any where near the house........ however, Sloe Gin is acceptable and some bloody awful Vodka concoction is reputedly worth a try....oh, and Christmas Whisky is ok in small sips.
Hi Robbi! Fiona also gates Elderflower. She likes blackberry wine, even elderberry, but nothing with the flowers?
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,534
404
Mercia
Well hello - it has been a long time!
Unfortunately I no longer make wine - we replaced the open fire with a logburner and had to line the inglenook fireplace chimney... and the chimney breast in my bedroom no longer gets warm. As this was my fermenting place I no longer have anywhere to let my wines "work" and until I discover a space in my crowded cottage where I can build a fermenting cupboard the demijons lie idle.
I still make Sloe Gin, Blackberry Vodka, Elderflower Cordial etc - but no wines...
In a couple of weeks I am leading a "botanicals forage" for a DIY gin event at the place I do Bushcraft intro sessions - so that might be the way forward :)
Locally distilled gin, local plants - it all sounds good...
Hi John, you can always call in for a glass, a bottle...or a case!
 

baggins

Full Member
Apr 20, 2005
1,409
169
45
Coventry (and up trees)
Nice vids again. Has anybody else struggled getting any decent flowers after all this rain? Have been watching the flowers in eager anticipation for the last month but now the rain has washed out all the tasty goodness. Just a few days of sun would be good as i need to stock up on elder syrup.
 

Woody girl

Full Member
Mar 31, 2018
2,733
1,832
62
Exmoor
Between the council taking outhe the two best elders bushes completely and cutting back others and the rain there are very few elder flowers to be seen here. What there is is high up.. too high to reach and needs to be left for birds. No home made elder cordial or fizz for me this year :( have decided to diversify and make rhubarb cordial instead.
It's different. I like different . Will miss my elderflower cordial though but ikea do a nice one and luckily bought a couple of bottles when I was there last. Saw they did rhubarb cordial but didn't get any. So will try making my own. I like blackberry cordial too.
 
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British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,534
404
Mercia
I've been grubbing out loads of elder too, flipping stuff volunteers like crazy and we are trying to widen our dendrodiversity. I have very successfully coppice to tree in the video which is interesting, it's stool now supports 40 trunks and every few years I re coppice it which keeps flowers and fruit at a manageable height.

If cordial is your thing, strawberry rhubarb (from flavourful local strawberries) is outstanding. We grow a daft amount of them. They make great fruit leather too.
 
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British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,534
404
Mercia
We've published the last in the Elderflower Wine series tonight. This part covers some useful techniques for clearing, filtering and bottling wine that apply to lots of Country wines.

 

Nice65

Full Member
Apr 16, 2009
4,638
1,294
55
W.Sussex
Sadly my local council have decided to tidy up a bit and my two best elders are no more. :( :(
I hope they asked permission of the Old Lady first, it’s an old tradition so as not to anger the witch that resides there. Another butterfly habitat gone too. :blue:

I have insomnia tonight, glad it’s a Sunday. :)
 

John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
21,811
1,285
63
Pembrokeshire
Like John, I no longer make wine though our Elderflower was one of our very best especially as a sparkling wine. However, I have started making my own spirit (purely for personal consumption only) and I've been investigating the botanicals in our wood that may be interesting flavours and Elderflower is definitely up there. We could compare notes John :) (maybe over a taste or two at the Moot? :))

Edit: that's three for the Gin tasting then :)
I do not drink gin - except for Sloe Gin ... I got myself badly drunk on Dutch Geneva as a teenager and the smell of gin has upset me ever since....
On the forage I just took the punters out and showed them what there was around and then went and ran my usual Bushcraft session :)
These days I usually stick to Whisky - preferably an Islay Malt :)
I do have some interesting fruit flavoured other spirits though...

Nice tutorial Mr Red!
 
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Nomad64

Full Member
Nov 21, 2015
1,073
578
UK
This may be of interest to forumites on the north side of Hadrian’s Wall keen to combine foraging with other traditional culinary crafts - deep fried, battered elderflowers! ;)

F74D1E32-4AA2-457A-BD02-B829B9FED506.jpeg

:poke: :mosquitos:I’ll get my coat.......
 
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