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edible gorse flowers!

Gorse is almost everywhere in England and it flowers all year round, even now in the middle of winter you can find the bright yellow flowers lighting up the hedgerows. If you can avoid the nasty thorns while picking you will be treated with a nice reward, the flowers have a kind of coconut pineapple taste and work really well in a salad. In fact gorse flower can be used for many things like wine, syrup, tea, gorse flower bread and even gorse pina colada cocktails! Gorse wine remains among the most popular gorse recipe so heres a recipe by John Wright.

Gorse wine

5 litres gorse flowers 5 litres water 1.3kg of sugar – or you can use honey for all or part of this, though this is more expensive 500 g raisins – chopped, or put in a plastic bag and crushed with the end of a rolling pin 2 lemons – juice and zest only Yeast nutrient White wine yeast

Bring the water to a boil in a large pan – a stock-pot is best. Remove any twigs and wildlife from the gorse flowers and add them to the boiling water. Simmer for 15 minutes. Take off the heat and stir in the sugar until it is dissolved, add the raisins, lemon and yeast nutrient. Pour into a clean fermenting tub, cover and allow to cool.

Once it's at room temperature add the yeast according the instructions on the sachet. Cover and leave for four days, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a demi-john using a sieve, a funnel and a bit of squeezing, making sure all equipment is sterilised. Top up with boiled water if you do not have enough to fill the demi-john. Fix the bubble-trap and leave until fermentation has ceased, or nearly ceased.

Rack off into a fresh demi-john and leave for another couple of months or until it is clear. Bottle and be patient. Nine months seems to be a minimum for this wine to mature to glory.


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