plus a recipe for Elderflower Champagne & Lemonade!
Elder is one of those powerful trees and medicines that has been shared throughout time and with that comes lots of lore, myth, and story. Elder is a powerful being of divine protection…she’s like the ultimate Guardian Angel. Many people choose to plant her at the center of their garden, near their home, or borders, and many (myself included) would never chop down an Elder tree. When we recently moved into our new home, we found at the back of our land there is a hedge of elder. But it’s also where we have our closest neighbor, and I love that the Elder is naturally forming a barrier of protection there. As her name suggests, Elder is a wise being and her little star-like blossoms formed like an umbrella of stars point to her celestial and otherworldly wisdom. The Celts associated her with the Fae. And I can’t help but see her timely blooming that occurs in the Beltane portal as a good indicator of this as well. What she has taught me is about divine support in guidance between otherworlds. Simply lying under her you can be transported to celestial realms for healing, divine guidance, and connection to Ascended divine beings. I find this time of year when she is in bloom to be the most potent activation for this particular portal.
While her berries get all the glory in her modern resurgence as medicine, it is the blossoms that I seek. They are much more potent in those protective antiviral and anti-microbial properties; however, I value their magical potential as well. As with any time I harvest plants, and I ask their permission. When working with Elder, one would be extremely brave to harvest without doing so first. In fact, while I have been visiting these elder trees daily and introducing myself in building a relationship with our new land, when it came time to harvest, I was initially denied permission. I was told to ceremonially greet her before I was able to harvest. So I pulled out all the stops for her, graciously. After a ritual offering with tobacco, song, my reverence and hair, I was generously offered several large cuttings to make my annual Elderflower Champagne and lemonade. If you want a quick video to go along with the recipe check out my IG TV to see it.
Elderflower Champagne (with additional instructions for lemonade)
makes 1 gallon
7-10 Elderflower heads
2 cups of sugar of choice (for this I really prefer Demerara/raw cane sugar)
1 gallon of spring water (4 cups reserved for sugar)
2 tbsp of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
optional herbs to add in: mimosa blooms, holy basil, mint, etc
Take 4 cups of water and bring to slight boil. Dissolve in 2 cups of sweetener and set to the side to cool. Take clean glass jar (I prefer 2 half-gallon mason jars), and place sliced lemons inside. Since I use 2 half-gallon jars, I put 1-1 1/2 lemons in each jar. If your lemons are large, you’ll only need two lemons total. Next add in your apple cider vinegar and sugar water. The wild yeasts on the blossoms eat the sugar to create the bubbles in the drink. (My kids love Michael Pollen’s explanation of this as yeast farts). From here, I add my blossom heads. Elderflower heads can be huge, so use your best judgement. You don’t need much! I fill with my spring water and then cover for 24-48 hours. I use a perfect pickler top with an airlock just because I’ve had one for years. But, I know Ali over at Dreaming the Bee said that the mason jar straw top lids work for this as well, and then, all you need is an airlock. BUT, this is such a short ferment you can simply cover it with cheesecloth or a tea towel and rubberband. I let mine ferment on the counter in this way for 48 hours usually. Then, it is time to bottle! I use sterilized swing top bottles. I strain and leave an inch of headspace at the top. From here, it can be a yummy probiotic Elderflower lemonade as is. Just pop into the fridge and drink up! OR you can let it ferment in those swing top bottles to make an Elderflower Champagne. Best of both worlds is BOTH. For the secondary ferment, let it sit 2-3 weeks. Then, store in the fridge until time to drink!
I hope you and yours create the space to sip a little Celestial Elder Magic! Oh, and my kids say I would be absolutely amiss if I didn’t mention the ever powerful and notable Elder Wand in Harry Potter! So there you have it.