Homemade Wine Recipe: Make Elderflower Wine

Sandra Oddo shares wine making tips for brewing with elderflowers and elderberries.

| May/June 1974

The last of Faith Lasher's elderberry recipes in the July/August 1973 issue of MOTHER EARTH NEWS is for elderflower wine, not elderberry wine. (You're right, Sandra . . . my hand slipped when I set the title.—MOTHER ) and looks to me as if it would turn out sickly-sweet.

Our favorite way to make elderflower wine at home — and we've tried five or six recipes, including ones with raisins, hops, oranges and Lord knows what all — is the simplest. Here are two basic recipes, one for elderflower wine and one for elderberry wine, and some wine making tips we can pass on from our own experience.

How to Make Elderflower Wine

Elder flowers (at least one quart)
1 gallon boiling water per quart of flowers
2 to 2 1/2 pounds of sugar per gallon of liquid
2 lemons or limes per gallon, juiced, per gallon
1 packet of dry wine yeast per 5 gallons of liquid (see "Wine Making Tips" below for more information about wine yeast)

Snip a quart of flowers from the stems, pour a gallon of boiling water over them and let the tea steep three or four days with the blossoms pressed down under the liquid (they turn brown and spoil the color of the drink if they're exposed to air). Sometimes we soak orange peel at the same time, but it makes the infusion harder to clear.

Strain off the fluid and heat some of it to dissolve 2 to 2 1/2 pounds of sugar per gallon. If you have a hydrometer, aim at an 11 percent alcohol content — no more — for the finished product. When the solution cools, add the juice of 2 lemons or limes per gallon along with yeast. (You can use bread yeast — one package to five gallons — but the same amount of dry wine yeast will give you an infinitely better drink.) Then let the mixture work like any other such beverage . . . in a container that can be stopped with an air lock to let carbon dioxide out and keep air, bacteria and whatnot from getting in. Large batches, incidentally, are less likely to go bad than small lots.

Elderberry Wine Recipe

Elder berries (at least 2 gallons)
1 gallon of boiling water per 2 gallons of berries
3 1/2 to 4 pounds of sugar per gallon of boiled-down liquid
1 packet of dry wine yeast per 5 gallons of liquid (see "Wine Making Tips" below for more information about wine yeast)

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