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winemanden

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How to process Elderflowers after they have been picked.
Over the years, I've tried different ways of removing the flowers from the stalks. This year, I'm just snipping the flowers from the stalks with scissors. It's a quick way to do it, but you do miss a few flowers, and you do get a few small green stalks. I've done it this way a fair few times, and I don't think it makes too much of a difference to the final taste, but is there a better way?
 
I use a fork... I have one with a small hole between the middle tines which is perfect for fitting a stem through. As I'm sure you know, you have to be patient and not try to strip too big a bunch at one time, though you inevitably have to go back and trim a few that didn't quite strip off. It seems to have worked for me over the past few years.

On a related note, this year I made an elderflower syrup for my wine instead of leaving the flowers in during fermentation. My elderflower 'shampagne' last year was quite good but did have a bitter note, I think from little bits of stems being in throughout fermentation. Still early days this year - my primary is just finishing up - but I like the results so far.
 
I use a fork... I have one with a small hole between the middle tines which is perfect for fitting a stem through. As I'm sure you know, you have to be patient and not try to strip too big a bunch at one time, though you inevitably have to go back and trim a few that didn't quite strip off. It seems to have worked for me over the past few years.

On a related note, this year I made an elderflower syrup for my wine instead of leaving the flowers in during fermentation. My elderflower 'shampagne' last year was quite good but did have a bitter note, I think from little bits of stems being in throughout fermentation. Still early days this year - my primary is just finishing up - but I like the results so far.
How do you make your syrup? Like a simple syrup with the elderflower added? This sounds like a nice way to start and if I have enough flower I would like to try. I froze about 10 ish umbrels about a week ago and now I am out of town for another week and not sure if there will be more when I return or if they will be done for the year.
 
Here is my recipe, enough for a 3 (US) gallon batch of elderflower sham-pagne:

18 large elderflower heads (about 2 loosely packed US pints)
0.5kg sugar
2 lemons, washed and zest removed in strips (no white pith)
500mL water

Remove the elderflower florets with a fork, removing as much of the green stalks as possible. Put them in a sterilized bucket/bowl/jar with the zest of 2 lemons and thoroughly mix in the sugar. Leave for about three hours to extract the flavor, then add 500mL water and thoroughly dissolve the sugar. Keep in the fridge for 2 days, stirring once or twice daily.

Note that the number of umbels should be a rough guide only; they vary tremendously in fragrance and flavor, and some people like them stronger than others. You can add some lemon juice as well if you like; I add it to my fermentation must as part of the acid addition.

This syrup also makes a great non-alcoholic summer drink mixed with club soda đź‘Ť
 
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