Got patches of dandelions popping up on your lawn? Don't spray them with weed killer, pick them and turn them into delicious wine! Being home for the past two months, I've really gotten the chance to connect with my outdoor space and discover a whole variety of plants and herbs growing on my property. Last week I made fried dandelions and this week it looks like a batch of dandelion wine is in order.
What is Dandelion Wine?
What started as a poor man's wine in Europe slowly made its way into a tradition on the Great Plains of North America. Settlers found patches of the weed and started fermenting it into a sweet drink to enjoy after working in the fields all day.
Along with having a bit of alcohol, dandelion wine is also a medicinal drink. Dandelion flowers are packed with vitamins A, B, C, and D and are great for digestive health because they clean the kidneys and liver.
Today modern homesteaders make the wine at home and relish in its taste. Ever wanted to give winemaking a try? Now's your chance to try homebrewing all those dandelion blossoms you have in your yard.
How to Make Dandelion Wine
To start, collect about a gallon of dandelion flowers in a large bucket or bowl. Remove the green parts before moving on. The green parts on the whole flower give a bitter taste, so stick to the yellow flower heads. Winemakers suggest harvesting the flowers when they are fully open, usually in the early afternoon.
In a large pot, bring the water and sugar to a boil. In a large one-gallon fermentation vessel, add the dandelion petals, citrus zest, citrus juice, and yeast nutrient. Pour in the boiling water.
In a separate bowl dissolved the champagne yeast or wine yeast in lukewarm water and allow to stand until cool, about 2 hours. Pour the yeast into the container and top with water, leaving at least an inch of headspace for the carboy.
Cap the container with an airlock and ferment for three weeks or until fermentation has stopped.
Siphon the wine into a clean container and run through a cheesecloth or coffee filter and let the wine ferment for an additional 6 to 8 weeks. Once time has passed, Sciphon the dandelion wine into a clean container and prepare it for bottling. Bottle the flower wine into wine bottles and cork. Store the bottled wine in a cool dark place for 2-6 months at a minimum before drinking.
While this dandelion wine recipe does take months to make, you'll be happy you created it once you take the first sip of your very own homemade dandelion wine. In the meantime, read Ray Bradbury's novel, Dandelion Wine, a 1957 novel that uses the flower petal wine as a metaphor for packing all of the joys of summer into a single bottle.
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