Is there anyone here who has made elderflower soda? I have a recipe which requires me to pour boiling water onto the flowers - is this the only way to bring out the flavour, or can it simply be done by soaking them anaerobically? If so how long do I soak them for?
Um, I don't know about elderflower soda but I do know about elderflower cordial that you can mix with soda.
For the cordial, it's not that important to use boiling water; in fact I prefer to soak the flowers in tepid or cold water as not to boil/damage them (because I imagine that this also has an effect on the taste/aroma).
This is what I would normally do:
- pick the flowers
- keep them lying around on newspaper outside for a while so that the wildlife can move elsewhere
- drop them in a large pot
- add sugar
- add lemon zest and lemon slices
- pour water over everything
- cover with a plate that fits inside the pot and is weighed down so that all the plant material is underwater (or it will go dark and look fishy)
- cover with the pot's lid
- leave for about 3 days (could be 2 but rarely more than 3 -- look inside daily, stir around, taste a bit, check for signs of fermentation - you don't want it - OR maybe you do if you're really after elderflower soda?)
- afterwards, pour through a sieve (repeatedly if needed) into bottles
- pasteurize bottles in an oven
Whether you dissolve sugar in water before pouring or add sugar and water separately does not seem to make much of a difference.
In my experience cordial prepared in this way will stay OK for a year or so. The pasteurizing step is, of course, very important for its longevity. The amount of sugar you use is also a factor but that's limited by the fact that many people, myself included, do not like lots of sugar.
Alternatively, you can soak the flowers (and the zest, slices and sugar) in vodka/schnapps instead of water. In that case let it stand for about 3 weeks. The thing about plant material needing to be fully submerged still stands. Some of my friends and visitors appreciate this "elderflower schnapps" very much. It has a light flavor so the kind of alcohol you use does make a difference - make sure it is either neutral or something you like in the first place. In my case local plum brandy works very well.
I would imagine that if you're really after elderflower soda, not only something that you mix with soda, you'd actually want to see fermentation which means that you would skip the pasteurizing step in order not to stop the process... I guess. Dunno how long the stuff would keep then. And if you're looking for fermentation then using boiling water is about removing the bacteria naturally present in your environment so only the ones you add with whey / yeast / whatever you'd plan to add as the starter can affect the mixture - so you don't end up with mold instead for example. Also, the amount of sugar used would in this case have an additional significance as it would be the fuel of the fermenting process.
I have made many a batch of lactic acid soda and never processed any of my plant materials with boiling water. IF they are expecting you to have dried elder flowers, then I am assuming they are first making a tea and the bottling it with sugar and an activator? Not sure what activator you would be using, but "soda" is usually not a fermented beverage per see, it is usually a fruit, some sugar and an activator like water kefir or raw milk whey.
Make the soda in a very clean glass jar, I use a half gallon ball jar with a tight fitting lid--add fruit, sugar, water to cover everything and a few table spoons of whey--leave it out on the counter at room temperature for a few days, not too long or the top will blow--check for fizz...when you see that funnel it into stoppered bottles after filtering out the solids and it is good to go in the fridge for weeks. We love it with meyers lemons or blood oranges when they are in season.
The real world is bizarre enough for me...Blue Oyster Cult
Alexandra, can I substitute whey with either a little activated bakers yeast ... or rejuvelac (which I have either made incorrectly, or it is simply an almost tasteless liquid - a bit like adding a teaspoon of flour to a litre of water) ...or even a little sourdough? Can you give me a rough idea of amounts ... I am also trying out nettle pop (nettlecider has been very tasty, but now that I no longer drink alcohol I want to see if I can get an enjoyable iced drink from it - one with a bit of fizz).
Tim, you might enjoy this book. It has a number of recipes and methods for hot-infused and cold-infused sodas.
I just made a cold-infused soda with lemon balm, yarrow, and spruce tips. I probably would not use lemon balm again as its relaxing properties came out a bit too strong when I was actually looking for a fizzy pick me up.
You should be able to do a cold infusion with elderflower. Keep in mind that to get the carbonation, you'll need to add sugar or honey, which will result in some alcohol. So, depending on your level of abstinence, that may be important to you. How long? I think it depends on the type of starter you use and the temperature. I used a wine yeast I had on hand to get the fermentation going. I let it go slightly longer than I should have, so it did have a slightly yeasty, boozy taste. Next time, I will stop it sooner. I also want to try a natural fermentation with either raw honey or maybe some pine cones, which are supposed to be yeast-laden.
I did a little digging (LOL) and found this recipe where you make your own culture like a sourdough culture so you don't need whey. I might try this one soon! You don't need to use ginger as the fruit base, you could use the elderflowers, but add sugar because the yeast need the sugar to eat. Elder flowers have limited polysaccarides.