The Interesting Art of Dandelion Wine
Making dandelion wine is a simple process, that can take years to perfect and complete. Although many people haven't had the opportunity to taste dandelion wine let alone make it, what better opportunity to dig and use those springtime dandelions that prefer to appear in our yards.
The dandelion plant is a common weed in many yards, but also one of the most beneficial flowers to appear in the spring. Not only do they give pollinators an early start in spring, but they also have a variety of uses in other recipes, such as dandelion tea and dandelion jelly, but the most interesting use for the dandelion plant is dandelion wine.
Dandelion wine is a simple process that requires patience and a little bit of effort. When collecting your dandelions, make sure that you have a dandelion plant that is free of pesticides. Also, make sure that you have a lot of dandelions, because in order to make a full batch of wine you will need approximately 50-60 flowers. Once you have cleaned and washed all of your collected dandelions, remove all of the leaves, stems and calyxes (the green parts from the base of the flowers). The last, and most important step is to simply follow this recipe below courtesy of thespruceeats.com and in no time you will have a delicious, refreshing dandelion wine to share with our friends and family.
2 quarts dandelion flowers
1 gallon filtered water
Zest and juice from 3 medium lemons
Zest and juice from 3 medium oranges
1 1/2 pounds granulated sugar
3/4 pound golden raisins, chopped
1 teaspoon yeast nutrient or 2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 (5-gram) packet wine yeast or 1/2 teaspoon baking yeast
Optional: 1 cup simple syrup
Steps to Make It
Gather the ingredients.
Trim the flowers and put the petals in a nonreactive vessel (no aluminum, copper, or iron).
Bring the water to a boil and pour it over the flower petals. Let the mixture sit for 2 hours.
Place a colander lined with cheesecloth or butter muslin over a large, nonreactive pot and strain the dandelions, pressing gently on the flowers to extract as much of the liquid as possible. Compost or discard the dandelion petals.
Place the pot over high heat and bring the strained dandelion infusion to a boil.
Stir in the citrus juices and sugar, mixing to dissolve the sugar.
Add the lemon and orange zest and the chopped raisins. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
When the mixture has cooled to room temperature, stir in the yeast nutrient or cornmeal and the wine or baking yeast.
Cover and leave at room temperature for 10 to 14 days, stirring 3 times each day.
Strain into a sanitized 1-gallon jug and seal with either a fermentation lock (available from online home brewing and winemaking supplies stores) or a balloon with a single pinprick in it. The pinprick allows gasses to escape during active fermentation, but the balloon still keeps detrimental bacteria out.
After 3 weeks, siphon or carefully pour the liquid into another sanitized jug, leaving behind any yeasty sediment.
If there is more than 2 inches between the top of the wine and the rim of the bottle, top off with a simple syrup of equal parts sugar and water.
When the wine is clear, rather than cloudy, wait 30 more days and then siphon or carefully pour it into another jug, leaving behind any yeasty sediment on the bottom.
Refit with an airlock or pricked balloon.
Repeat this procedure every 3 months for 9 total months until almost no sediment is forming on the bottom of the jug anymore.
Funnel into sanitized bottles and cork the bottles.
Age for one more year before drinking.
Serve and enjoy.
Although the procedure is lengthy, the payoff is big! Loved by many, dandelion wine is one of the most beneficial and delicious wines and can be served with a variety of meals. So the next time that you see those dandelion flowers appear, don't just pass them by, instead grab a basket and start harvesting those flowers and you'll be on your way to making a delicious batch of dandelion wine!
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