After a week of fermenting in a bucket our elderflowers have given up their flavour and the juice is ready to be transferred into a demijohn. This is a simple, if sugar-sticky process, which runs something like this…
1. Keep it clean
It’s vital that every piece of apparatus used is thoroughly sterilised first. Sterilising powder is widely available – follow the instructions on the packet. And when it comes to choosing your implements, plastic and glass are better than metal.
2. Take the strain
You’ll need to separate the juice from the spent bits of flower and fruit. Muslin cloth is the standard strainer which we use to line a sieve over a large bowl. Pour the liquid into the cloth, gather it up at the edges and squeeze.
3. Fill the jar
The strained juice then needs to be transferred to the demijohn. You can pour it in directly from a jug or deploy a funnel to reduce spillage.
4. Top up
There’s a good chance that your recipe will leave you slightly short of a full demijohn. No matter. Simply top up the jar with pre-boiled (and cooled) water.
5. Fit an airlock
An airlock is a natty contraption that allows gas to escape, through trapped water, while keeping airborne nasties at bay. Use more of that boiled water to half fill the airlock and fit the bung tightly.
Find a warm perch for your jar and wait. Over time it will start to clear, with muck settling at the bottom. Fermentation takes, on average, three months and when complete it’ll be time to syphon off the liquid into another demijohn (a process called racking), then waiting some more until it’s all clear and ready for bottling. Probably another two or three months for this wine.