"Dandelion wine is fermented sunshine"
Jack Keller (world renowned homemade wine expert)
At this time of year in the northern hemisphere, there are millions of bright yellow dandelions in the hedgerows and fields, as well as in our gardens. It's an annual Dandelion fest round here. The lawns are a carpet of bright yellow. And yes, I realise most people dig them up as weeds, or worse, weedkiller them.
But there are loads of wonderful things you can do with dandelions, the most fun one being making your own homemade wine !
Here's the recipe I use most for homemade Dandelion Wine. Its cheap to make, using mostly things you can easily get hold of.
When picking the flowers, remember that you only need the flower heads, and not the stems.
Be very careful that you ONLY pick dandelion flowers in places away from roads (fumes from cars), and in gardens, fields or hedges that are not sprayed with pesticides or weedkillers. Or you will be drinking all that poison in your wine...
And wear rubber gloves when picking, unless you want the stem juice to stain your hands.
Dandelion Wine Recipe
My own adaptation from an original recipe by C J J Berry
3 litres (3 qts) whole Dandelion flower heads
1 kg (2 lbs 2 ozs) granulated White Sugar
0.5 kg (1 lb) Demerara Sugar
2 organic Lemons - organic as no wax & chemicals on them
2 organic Oranges - organic as no wax & chemicals on them
300 g (0.75 lb) Raisins
2 Tea Bags - normal black tea (minus the bags) - this is for the tannin
4.5 litres (1 gallon) Water - preferably no fluoride and non chlorinated
Wine yeast and yeast nutrient (not bread yeast)
Everything has to be sterilised every time it is used during wine making. Otherwise the wine will be bad, cloudy and taste disgusting ! This includes wooden spoons, demijohns, airlock - everything.
- Put the Dandelion flowers into a food grade while plastic bucket with a lid.
- Boil the water and pour it over the dandelion flowers. Make sure the lid is on tight.
- Leave to soak for 2 days. Stir once each day.
- Using a large saucepan/stainless steel pot. Put the entire mixture from the bucket into the saucepan.
- Add the sugars and the rind of the lemons and oranges (save the rest of the oranges in the fridge for later).
- Lightly boil for 1 hour (with the lid on).
- After 1 hour remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the raisins, then let it cool completely (not in the fridge).
- When it is totally cool, add the yeast, the yeast nutrient and the juice of the oranges.
- Transfer the contents of the saucepan into a demijohn, or a fermenting vessel, and add an airlock.
- Allow to ferment for 2 to 3 days.
- Strain the contents of the demijohn, then pour the resulting liquid into a different demijohn. Important - do not squeeze the pulp when straining, or else you will be adding extra particles to the wine.
- Add an airlock and leave to ferment in a warm place, out of direct sunlight. Fermentation has finished when there are no longer any bubbles going through the airlock.
- Rack off the wine into a clean demijohn and put in a bung to seal it.
- Leave to mature for 1 year in a cool, dark place.
- Bottle it !
If you want to know what a demijohn is, click HERE !