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Nowadays wines can be made from sources other than grapes. Technically, these wines are more accurately called liqueurs. For example, flowers.
When fermenting flowers into wines there are a variety to choose from and their flavors are just as diverse. For example, you can use lilacs, pansies, roses and even dandelions.
Wine From Dandelions? A Weed?
How ironic that what causes misery for the gardener can be appreciated for its health benefits as well as desired as the primary ingredient for pure culinary enjoyment.
Sounds like we have a symbiotic relationship. Gardeners put out an ad that you have lots of dandelions for those interested. You may find many interested in taking them off your hands.
Dandelions have a long history in Europe, China and North America. Its variety of uses include dyes and herbal medicines. It is a beneficial companion plant, as well as a noxious weed.
It is found in traditional recipes that hail from many parts of Eurasia. Beyond those spheres, dandelions are growing in popularity as a wine.
Dandelion Wine Preparation Tips
To make Dandelion wine, timing is everything. Their flowers appear in the Spring between the end of March and beginning of May and that is when you want to gather them.
Once the flowers transition into seed heads, their time for making wine has passed. The flower is bitter in taste, but this adds a pleasant astringency to the wine.
Ideally you want to pick dandelions in the morning when the sun is shining. Dandelions, like many flowers, close their petals at night. They also close up after being picked.
Pick at least a gallon of blossoms. This can be done in less than 30 minutes.
Begin preparing your wine immediately after picking the dandelions. Make sure your kitchen counters, hands, and all utensils are sterile before you proceed.
You can use the petals only or the whole flower. The whole flower adds a bit more tang to the flavor.
If you want only the petals then hold each flower by the green part that is under the petals, this is called the calyx. Snip off the petals with scissors into a clean fermenting bucket. Don’t be concerned with any small green bits that may fall in from time to time.
This bright blossom transforms into a delicious sunshine-filled liqueur by first making it into a tea. Add sugar and citrus and let it ferment. If this is the first time that you are drinking this elixir, you will never look at dandelions the same ever again.
Here are a few recipes to choose from that will offer a variety of tastes. Choose the one you enjoy most.
Dandelion Wine Recipes
The recipe itself is pretty standard fare and very easy. It produces a rich, strong and medium sweet wine.
- 1 gallon of petals from whole dandelion flowers
- 4.5 litres of water
- 1.5kg sugar
- Zest and juice of 4 lemons
- 500g raisins, chopped or pounded (or 200ml can of white grape juice concentrate)
- 1 sachet of white wine yeast
- Yeast nutrient
- Boil water and pour over the petals. Cover and let it sit for a couple of days. Stir occasionally.
- Pour into a large saucepan and add the lemon zest. Bring to a boil. Stir in the sugar until it dissolves.
- Continue to boil for five minutes. Take off the heat. Add lemon juice and crushed raisins or grape juice concentrate.
- Use a campden tablet to thoroughly clean the fermenting bucket. Pour in the mix and cover until cool.
- Add the yeast and yeast nutrient and cover. Ferment for three or four days then transfer into a demijohn using a sterilized sieve and funnel.
- Fit a bubble trap and allow fermentation for at least two months. Rack-off into a fresh demijohn and leave until clear, then bottle.
Homebrewit has three distinct dandelion wine recipes, which offer you a variety to choose from.
- 2 quarts dandelion flowers
- 3 pounds granulated sugar
- 1/2 ounce yeast
- 1 lemon
- 1 orange
- 1 gallon boiling water
- Pick the dandelion flower heads when the flowers are open. Wash the flowers to thoroughly remove any insects, and others, etc., and put them in a large bowl.
- Thinly slice the lemon and orange and add them to the dandelion flowers. Pour one gallon of boiling water over the dandelions and stir well.
- Cover the bowl and let stand for 10 days. After 10 days, strain the liquid off into another bowl and stir in 3 pounds granulated sugar.
- Spread 1/2 ounce of yeast on a slice of toast and float on top. Cover the bowl and leave it set for another three days. After three days, remove the toast and strain the liquid again, put into bottles but DO NOT cork or cap.
- Cover bottles and let set until fermentation stops. This could be up to three months. Cap or cork.
This one has a stronger orange taste and is sweeter than recipe #1. Yields approximately 1 gallon.
- 1 gallon dandelion blossoms
- 1 gallon boiling water
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3 oranges, peeled and sliced
- 4 pounds of sugar
- 1 cake of yeast
- Combine the water and blossoms in a crock. Let stand for 24 hours, then strain. Add rest of the ingredients.
- Let the mixture set for 3 weeks, then bottle. Age in bottles for at least 2 months.
Rose petals can be substituted in this recipe to replace dandelions, if you want a change. Yield is approximately 4 gallons.
- 2-3 gallons fresh dandelion yellow dandelion tops (remove all green)
- 3 oranges
- 2 lemons
- 1 pound raisins
- 1 package wine yeast
- Remove the dandelions stems. Slice up three oranges, two lemons and one pound of raisins. Add them into a primary fermenter.
- Pour four gallons of boiling water over the flowers, raisins and fruit. Let the mixture cool overnight.
- Add the sugar to reach the specific gravity between 1.090 and 1.100. Add one pack of wine yeast.
- After 10 days, strain out the flowers and fruits from the liquid. Siphon the liquid into a carboy. Attach an airlock and allow the liquid to ferment for 30 days.
- Rack and put back into carboy to continue the fermenting process. After 90 days, rack again and bottle when clear. Age for 6 months.