Past Vins: Dandelion
Wow, it's spring! The bees are buzzing, the garden is up, and you want to make wine. What's available? Those yellow things in the lawn?
Why not? Make sure you pick dandelions from an area which has not been sprayed with herbicide or by a dog. Dandelions love disturbed areas; however, so do roads and cars. Use discretion.
Pick the flowers that are in full bloom and fragrant, after the dew has dried.
Bradbury Dandelion Wine
6-8 cups dandelions, heads only, no green bits
Make sure all the green bits are off the flowers. Brush off any little (or big) insects. Do not wash. Put the flowers in a 2-3 quart saucepan with a lid and enough of the water to cover. Bring to a boil, put the lid on, and turn the heat off immediately. Steep the flowers for an hour.
Boil the rest of the water with the sugar or honey (or half and half) and let it cool, careful to keep dust, etc. out.
Strain the flower water into a sanitized glass jug. Press the flowers gently, but don't get too physical. Add the cooled sugar water, then the yeast nutrient, tannin, and acid or lemon juice.
After the must has cooled to room temperature, check the P.A. and write it down. Should be 12%-14%. Fit with a stopper and airlock.
Add the Campden tablet and wait 24 hours before adding the yeast. If you choose not to use the Campden tablet, add the yeast when the must temperature has fallen below 90 degrees F.
Ferment 3-5 days until the P.A. has fallen to 3-4% (or when things quiet down). Rack into another sanitized jug, ferment for another month, then rack again.
It will be ready in 3 months to a year, depending. This will give you a slightly sweet wine. Dandelion lasts a long time but you must keep it from the light. The color isn't very interesting, sort of a clear to slightly green. It should never be cloudy.
For a richer wine, use more flowers, up to 2 quarts if you care to pick that many. Dandelions are free, after all! (So are butterflies but don't even try.)
If you like dandelions, take a look at this book site: Dandelions are Free!
What's your favorite wine recipe? Send e-mail to Terry Garey.
Copyright © 1997 by Terry A. Garey.