Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Pontack Sauce or what to do with elderberries

This year I have tried a new brew called Pontack Sauce, somewhere between witchcraft and magic; this a glorious concoction made primarily from elderberries, vinegar and spices. I read several recipes and having not managed to pick many berries this was my final version.

Strip elderberries from their stems and put into a pyrex casserole dish with a good depth of vinegar. Place in a 50oC oven overnight. The next day some magic will have happened, the house will be cloaked in a vinegary smell and the mix will have changed into a deep port colour. Then fry off some red onion and strain the mix into the pan squishing well to make sure all the goodness but not the skins has passed through. Add mace blades, whole cloves and juniper berries. Bubble in a pan until satisfyingly brewed. Strain and bottle.

Wait seven years.

Seriously – this is what the recipes seem consistent about; it improves with age and is at its best in seven years time. I doubt I'll wait that long so will take small samples periodically to test.


  1. I vaguely contemplated making pontack sauce this year but somehow never got round to it.

    Have you got Pam Corbin's book? She says she's hard pushed to keep Pontack sauce for 7 months, let alone 7 years so maybe you won't have to wait quite so long!

  2. Yes I love Pam Corbin's River Cottage book. there are still a few elderberries around so I may hav a bash at a second batch

  3. Sounds yummy, but nothing can make me wait with rumbling tummy.

  4. looks very interesting but a wait of 7 years is a tough one to achieve. what do you use it in when its ready??

  5. Liver, game, cold meats... mmmmm

  6. I have it brewing at the minute I used pams recipe did not have much juice after leaving in the oven for 4 hours but it sure smells good .


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