A few weeks ago when dandelion blossoms were rife in the gardens I gathered six quart baggies full. I stored them in the freezer until I found the time to make wine. Today, was the day!
Dandelion wine is a healthful, digestive-friendly libation. It is an acquired taste, and I have acquired the taste for it! After the wine ages for at least six months it's ready to drink and after a year it's even better. The wine has a sweet, herbaceous flavor. The herbaceousness dissipates somewhat the longer it is aged becoming more and more palate friendly.
This wine is a good one to sip if you have digestive issues. It's a great tonic wine for the liver, too.
You'll need some equipment. A gallon (or as pictured here, a four-liter) jug, a fermentation lock, yeast, a lemon and an orange (or two lemons), some yeast (either packaged or liquid starter), some dandelion blossoms, and a large stock pot.
Dandelion Wine: (makes approximately one gallon of wine)
3-quart baggies full of fresh dandelion flowers, stems removed
3 quarts, plus 3 cups of water
6 cups sugar
1 package of yeast, or 1/4-cup liquid yeast starter
2 lemons (or one lemon and one orange)
Bring the water to a boil in a large stock pot. When the water is boiling turn off the heat and add the dandelion flowers.
Stir. Cover. Let steep for four or five days, no longer than seven days and stir the mixture once per day while it steeps to help prevent mold from starting on air-exposed blossoms. Don't worry if your mixture looks and smells a bit funky. Fermentation, racking, and aging ameliorates the cloudy, bitter-smelling mixture. This holds true for all wine in its "infant" stages.
Strain off the liquid, gently pressing the flowers to extract liquid, and discard the spent flowers onto the compost pile.
Gently heat the mixture and add the six cups of sugar. Stir to dissolve. Cool the mixture to room temperature. Add the juice of the citrus and the yeast. Cover the mixture and allow it to ferment for a few days in the pot. This allows fermentation to settle so that it won't extrude up into your fermentation lock. After three or four days, pour or syphon the mixture into your jug. Add water to the fermentation lock to level indicated. Stopper the jug with the lock and allow it to ferment until fermentation slows significantly. Syphon the wine, or gently pour it, into a clean jug leaving the lees (sediments) behind.
After racking (moving the mixture to a new jug) fermentation will likely be stimulated again. Every couple of months re-rack the wine until fermentation ceases completely and the wine is clear. Bottle or bulk store in the jug.
If your wine does not clear you can order clearing agents from on-line wine suppliers. Even if the wine is hazy, it won't be as pretty, but it will "drink" just fine.
Allow the wine to age for at least six months. Aging for a year results in an even smoother wine.
I recently opened a bottle of dandelion wine that had lain in the cellar for nearly five years. It was sublime, smooooth, tasty.
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