Elderflower Wine Recipe Light To Medium Bodied
Elderflower wine has one of those flavours that is so distinct you cannot really compare it to anything else.
That elusive floral bouquet seems to be amplified in a wine and the number of elderflower bushes in the UK makes it one of the most popular ingredients for wine making.
Most people opt to make an elderflower champagne but in all honesty, I prefer an elderflower wine, the elderflowers really do fill the palate even without the bubbles.
Elderflowers have a unique flavour all of their own in most cases you either like it or you dont.
If you like something like an elderflower cordial or presse then this wine recipe really does showcase that distinct flavour and aroma.
Section : What Ingredients You Will Need To Make Elderberry Wine
- 3.5lbs of elderberries
A Note on Alternative Ingredients
Alternatively, you can use 1.75lbs of dried elderberries which have been soaked and rehydrated as per the pack instructions.
Just make sure you buy WHOLE dried berries, not the powder or freeze dried versions, as you will be missing out on a lot of the flavor and body of the berries by buying them in pieces.
In fact, Im not sure you could even make a halfway decent wine out of elderflower powder, so avoid at all costs.
How To Make Blackberry Wine
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Blackberries are typically in season during late-summer to early-autumn months, and can be found in hedgerows all across the US and Europe. They are used to make desserts, jams and teas. This article will teach you how to make delicious blackberry wine perfect for summer barbecues and garden parties.
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Elderberry Sun Wine Notes
I set mine in a sunny window, then out on the deck in various spots, and then brought it inside at night. We have a groundhog that’s been visiting the deck at night, at I didn’t want it getting in the hooch. The liquid should be bright red in color after three days in the sun.
You’ll note that this recipe has no added yeast. This made me a little nervous, since wild yeast can be less reliable. Mine didn’t start bubbling right away, but I cheated a bit and used the same spoon to stir both batches of wine. Spoon sharing got the fermentation going. If you don’t see bubbles within a couple of days, it’s probably safer to add commercial yeast so your wine doesn’t spoil or turn into vinegar.
- 1 cup of chopped raisins
Does Elderberry Wine Have Alcohol
At best, elderberry wine would have about 5.5% alcohol by volume. You may get a bit more or less depending on your fermentation process and the kind of yeasts you use. However, this gives you a good baseline expectation. Most people like more ABV in their wine, so shooting for a starting brix of at least 20 is typical. via
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About The Elderberry Shrub
Elderberries are incredibly easy to grow. Other than needing sufficient moisture, good drainage, and a bit of organic matter, they arent very picky about soil type. Thats why you often find them growing in ditches along country roads.
They self-seed and propagate by side-sprouts. So they can become invasive if unwanted plants arent uprooted early. They are also capable of self-fertilization but will produce a lot more berries when they have a compatible pollenizer.
More From The Wildcrafting Brewer:
This excerpt is from Pascal Baudar’s book The Wildcrafting Brewer: Creating Unique Drinks and Boozy Concoctions from Natures Ingredients and is printed with permission from the publisher.
Pascal Baudars book The Wildcrafting Brewer: Creating Unique Drinks and Boozy Concoctions from Natures Ingredients reveals both the underlying philosophy and the practical techniques for making your own delicious concoctions, from simple wild sodas, to non-grape-based country wines, to primitive herbal beers, meads, and traditional ethnic ferments like tiswin and kvass. The origins of brewing involve a whole galaxy of wild and cultivated plants, fruits, berries, and other natural materials, which were once used to make a whole spectrum of creative, fermented drinks. Now fermentation fans and home brewers can rediscover these primitive drinks and their unique flavors in The Wildcrafting Brewer. This recipe for elderberry wine is based off of an old French recipe.
California is home to Mexican elder trees , which provide either white or black berries . These berries are also more sugary than other elderberries, so if you live in a different state or country and are working with the usual black-berried elder , you may want to add a bit more sugar than this recipe calls for. Or you can also just follow the amounts given here, then sample the brew when fermentation is complete and sweeten to match your taste.
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Notes On Sampling And Sharing
Personally, I sample some wine about halfway through fermentation and then again at bottling. I also tend to break into a bottle after just a few months of aging, just to make sure things are progressing well.
If you want to make this a family tradition, as my great-grandpa did, then make your wine this year and open your first bottle next year at one of your fall or winter holiday get-togethers!
Elderberry Wine Recipe Easy
Now that you know a bit about the Elderberry shrub lets get to the point of this post and see how easy it is to make elderberry wine. 1. Basic Ingredients. You dont need fancy supplies to make elderberry wine. Elderberry juice, distilled or unchlorinated water, lemons or citric acid, yeast , and a little elbow grease are all you need to get started.
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A World Of Wine Possibilities
I bet you already realized that I didnt just give you a recipe for Elderberry Wine. I also gave you enough background and a basic method that will work for all sorts of other fruit wines.
Dilatation rates may vary based on the flavor concentration in the juice you use. As a rule of thumb though, if the juice you start with tastes good and has a nice texture, then the wine will probably taste good too!
Once you get your dilution right, then find your starting Brix, choose your yeast, and work the steps.
You may have to practice a few times to create wines that suit your taste. However, that gives you an excuse to go wine-tasting on your own homestead!
Do You Chill A Cabernet Sauvignon
In general, the ideal temperature for full-bodied reds like Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec is between 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s the same for fortified wines such as Port, Marsala, and Madeira. Lighter-bodied reds such as Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Grenache are better served a little cooler than that at 55 degrees. via
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Homemade Elderberry Wine Is Without A Doubt The Most Refined Distinguished And Classic Wildcrafted Wine I Have Ever Made I Would Love To Show You How It Is Done
Now is the time. The Elderberries are starting to ripen and are perfect for making Elderberry wine, Elderberry syrup, Elderberry jam and jelly, or Elderberry pies. The berries must be fully ripe and as dark as they can be, to make the best Elderberry Products. They should leave your hands and mouth stained a dark and intense purple.If you are going to make only one wild berry wine this life, then make Elderberry Wine.We have two beautiful specimens of native Elderberry bushes in the Apothecarys Garden at the Teaching gardens in Westdale Hamilton.
Elder flowers are excellent as a Tea in the winter, or a refreshing drink in the summer when kept in the form of a syrup. I believe Ikea sells a version of Elderflower syrup, though I doubt it could compete with homemade. The gently dried Elderflowers make an exquisite Wildcrafted tea.Keep this all in mind for next spring if you have an abundance of flowers on your bushes. Whether collecting the flowers reduces the yield of berries is a question I have yet to answer.
But the berries, AHH, The Elderberries, make the finest of wines! There is no wild wine, in my experience, that can outshine a decently crafted Elderberry Wine.One issue I usually have with our local Elderberries, is the lack of tartness and tannins, I dont know if the same issue exists with its European cousin, but there are a couple of effective methods to balance the flavour.
How To Make Elderberry Wine
Elderberry wine, made correctly, is every bit as good as wine made from its cousin the grape. Aged, oaked and mellowed, wine from elderberries bears a close resemblance to some of the huskier, more brooding red grape wines Mourvedre and Petit Verdot spring to mind. Elderberry wine is a wonderful drink when the weather turns cold and you find yourself in front of a fire with friends and food.
Even so, for years I have hesitated to write about elderberry wine on this site. Its not because what I do is some sort of secret, its because what I do involves a lot more time and technical tinkering than almost every other fruit wine recipe Ive ever read. I make wine pretty close to the way professional winemakers do I have to, in a state full of grape snobs. Its a method more science than art.
Balance is what I seek. A fine wine has acidity, alcohol and tannin all in proper proportion. One the prime problems in fruit wines is lack of balance. Some fruits are too acidic. Some too sweet. A few are too tannic. Grapes are the fruit closest to achieving perfection all on their own, which is why they won in the great winemaking game of life.
Oh, and for the record, I make elderberry wine only from the Western blue elderberry, Sambucus mexicana. You can also use the Eastern blue elderberry, S. nigra. Do not make wine from red elderberries.
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How To Find Elderberries
Elderberries like moist soil, so you’ll find them in ditches, along the edges of wet woodlands, near lakes and rivers, and other damp ground. They are native to North America, and can be found throughout most of the US and Eastern Canada, except for in the northwest .
We went foraging for elderberries along country roads here in northeast Wisconsin. My friends had scouted out the area in previous years, so they knew where to start looking. The plants don’t look very showy, but you can watch for the clumps of berries near the top. Here’s an elderberry patch we spotted on the side of the road.
Elderberry berries grow in clusters that stick out above the foliage. If you look closely at the photo above, you can see dark blobs in the shrubs.
Be careful to make sure you have a positive identification. Elderberry is sometimes confused with water hemlock, inkberry, or pokeberry, but if you look closely, these plants are quite different.
Elderberry leaves grow on soft green stems in pairs.
Alternatively, if you can’t find elderberries in the wild, some folks are now raising them for sale .
Berries are most easily harvested by snipping off the clumps and gathering them in a bucket. They will stain if smashed, so trying to strip off individual berries is asking for a mess. I like to tie a bucket around my waist and wade right in.
Heavy Elderberry Wine Recipe
- 8 cups of cane sugar
- 2 cups of raisins, finely chopped
- 3 shredded wheat biscuits or 1 cup Wheat Chex OR 1 teaspoon yeast nutrient
- 1 package of dry granulated yeast, or one package wine yeast
Place elderberries in a large stockpot with 4 quarts of water. Boil for 30 minutes. Let cool to lukewarm.
Strain elderberries through a jelly bag or flour sack towel, squeezing until the pulp is very dry. Note: this will coat the towel with blue/brown sticky ick that is very hard to remove. I’ve washed mine twice and it’s still tacky.
Pour the juice into a crock or large canner kettle. Stir in the sugar, making sure it is all dissolved. Add the finely chopped raisins. Break the shredded wheat over the surface or, if using Wheat Chex, sprinkle whole over the surface. Note: If you are gluten sensitive, you may wish to substitute two teaspoons of yeast nutrient for the wheat products.
Distribute the dry yeast over the surface allow to hydrate and then mix into wine.
Cover with a flour sack towel and put in a warm place to ferment for three weeks. I keep the towel secured with an old hair band to keep fruit flies out. Stir gently twice a week.
At the end of this period, strain through several thicknesses of cheesecloth. Return to kettle or crock to settle for two days more. Siphon off into clean, sterilized bottles and cork lightly . When fermentation has ceased, cork tightly and store for at least one year before drinking.
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What You Will Learn
These enchanting little white or yellow clusters of flowers emit a summery sweet fragrance. The flower essence is said to instill a sense of youthfulness, vigor, and restore inner strength.
These delightful blossoms have a long history of medicinal use and are often used to flavor food and drinks. Read on to learn about their miraculous properties and some of the many ways you can use elderflower.
Remove Berries From Stems
You can remove the berries from your stems while you are picking. Or, you can do all your picking and then sit down on your front porch and de-stem your berries while enjoying a beautiful sunset. This process can be a bit messy because sometimes berries fly off the stems in unexpected directions.
Also, if you add the spent stems to your compost, you may end up with a few elderberry shrubs popping up in unexpected places. Alternatively, you can also leave the stems on the ground, under your shrub, as organic matter. Since youll be policing that area to uproot unplanned growth anyhow, this is a safe way to dispose of any unripe berries.
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Which Vinegar Is Best To Extract Elderberries
Some vinegar purists insist that an unpasteurized apple cider vinegar is always the way to go for the added healthful benefits. I’ve seen other recipes use red wine vinegar with elderberries, and I imagine the flavors would be quite complementary. Personally, though, I really love the flavor of elderberry, so I like making this vinegar with a white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar that doesnt add too much of its own taste profile and allows the elderberry flavor to shine.
Just remember, no matter what vinegar you choose, the quality of the vinegar you begin with will determine the quality of your end product. Some vinegars are better than others, and this is the time to invest in one that best serves your berries.
Is It Ok To Take Elderberry Everyday
Elderberry syrups and supplements made from reputable companies can be taken daily, even multiples times daily. Elderberry products, like Sambucol Black Elderberry Syrup and Sambucol Black Elderberry Gummies, are made from elderberry fruits. That means you’re taking in a highly concentrated source of fruit. via
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Should I Add Sweetener To My Vinegar
Sweetener is not a necessity when making your own vinegar, but it has its upsides. Sugars feed the active cultures in vinegar, giving energy to the initial ferment. As a result, your vinegar acidifies faster, and the organisms that create spoilage are more likely to be thwarted. When I make vinegars from fresh summer fruit with a lot of natural sugar, like raspberries, pears, or apples, I dont add sweetener. But for dried elderberries or tart fruits like cranberries and rhubarb, I find that a little sweetener does wonders to get the ferment up to speed.
How much and what sweetener you use depends on your taste. I always use raw, local honey, but because it has so many natural antimicrobial properties, it can slow down the rate of fermentation. Feel free to use sugar instead if you prefer. Some people even use molasses.
The original recipe uses two tablespoons of honey, which is perfect for me, but I tend to like a more tart elderberry vinegar for vinaigrettes, sauces, and marinades so that I can adjust the sweetness for specific recipes. My husband, on the other hand, likes to keep a somewhat sweeter elderberry vinegar around for sipping and mixing in cocktails, so he will often double or even triple the amount of honey for this purpose.
I suggest experimenting with quarter-size batches to determine what you like best!
Makes 1 to 1 1/2 cups vinegar.
Active Time: 30 minutes
Harvesting And Preparing For Use
Depending on your climate, elder shrubs may bloom at various times over the summer between June and August.
To harvest, pick a warm dry day when the plant is in full bloom. Harvest during the morning or evening to keep the picked flowers from wilting in the sun or try to find a shady place to set them while you work.
Pluck off entire clusters of blossoms at the base, shake gently to dislodge any hidden insects, and place each bundle into your basket or bag.
If you dont have any elder plants in your yard dont worry! Just look for wild ones on the edges of streams, ponds, or along other disturbed edges such as fences or roads.
If you also plan to harvest the berries later in the season, pick flowers selectively, leaving some clusters intact here and there.
I would recommend taking no more than a third on each plant. This is good practice anyway, as it is best to always leave some behind for the birds and the bees!
Once harvested, you can preserve for later use by drying and storing in tightly lidded jars in a dark place.
To dry, lay flowers on trays or mesh screen and leave in a dark, dry place for about a week.
When fully dry, make sure they are still a similar yellow or white color to when they were fresh. Browning can be prevented by avoiding light during the drying process.
If you prefer, you can also leave flowers attached to the stem while drying and hang in bunches in a cool, dark location. I often dry herbs in a back closet.
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