Elderberry Blossom Wine

Now here’s something you don’t see in the grocery store.

Elderberry blossoms by bscoder, on Flickr

Elderberries themselves are purple-black, slightly bitter, and astringent; they should be cooked before eating them, both because they have small amounts of cyanide that breaks down when cooking and because it turns the flavor much sweeter.

The blossoms, on the other hand, have some of the astringency, but have a flavor like a milder version of its cousin, honeysuckle. Just be careful that you aren’t accidentally picking the similarly-colored but pom-shaped flours of cicuta, commonly known as water hemlock, a plant poisonous enough that you shouldn’t be touching it, let alone making beverages out of it.

From the box of A.D. from Lutz, Florida, by way of Pennsylvania in the 1940s, and originating in Ohio in the 1920s.

Elderberry Blossom Wine

1 quart packed elderberry blossoms
1 gallon cold water
4 pounds sugar
3 sliced lemons
3/4 yeast cake]

Pick enough blossoms from stems to fill a quart measure when pressed down. Add to them 1 gallon of cold water and steep slowly 24 hours. Strain and add 4 pounds sugar, 3 sliced lemons, 3/4 cake of yeast. Set away for 2 weeks. Keep covered with cloth. Strain carefully into bottles and let stand 2 or 3 months and then cork.

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