Dandelion Wine: Part 1

The Dandelion is an amazingly useful plant.  Young leaves can be picked for the salad.  Older ones can be stewed.  The roots can be baked and ground into a coffee substitute.  And the flowers can be fermented to produce a light refreshing summer wine sometimes described as “sunshine in a glass”.

Looking at all the dandelions blooming around our house, it was this last usage that has piqued my interest of late.  I’ve never tested it, but why not? A little weeding, a little drinking–better than spraying poisons everywhere in a misguided quest for uniformity.

I decided to follow the second recipe on this page. I really wanted to following the instructions I once read in an issue of Back Home magazine, but my copy is in storage. If someone has the recipe, please post it to the comments! Anyway, what follows over the next few posts are photo-narrated instructions for making your own dandelion wine.

Step 1: Pick a bag full of dandelion blossoms (at midday if possible). Select larger ones, as the smaller ones take longer to clean. I picked all that were available on our property (there’d be more if we were more diligent about mowing) and then I picked a bunch on my neighbor’s property too. (Thanks for not using lawn chemicals Drew — if it turns out decent I’ll bring you a bottle.)

Step 2: Separate the petals of each flower from the green parts. Do this without staining your hands. Just kidding! The stems and green parts of the flower add a bitter resinous off-flavor to the wine. Or … so I read. The fastest way to separate each flower is to squeeze the back of the flower tightly, and then pinch into the face of the flower. The petals should mostly separate like pulling the choke out of an artichoke. You need at least 2 quarts of flower petals.

Step 3: Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil and mix with the flower petals (the “must”–material to be fermented). Remove from heat. The intent is to create a sort of dandelion tea, and the initially heat helps accelerate that process. Cover and allow to stand for 48 hours, stirring occasionally.

Well, that’s it for now. I’ll post an update in two days with the next few steps.

This entry was posted in Skillset. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Dandelion Wine: Part 1

  1. Pingback: Farm Folly » Blog Archive » Dandelion Wine: Part 2

  2. Pingback: Dandelion wine: Part 3 » Farm Folly

  3. Sue in MA says:

    I made dandelion wine from the following recipe many times in the 70s, but not since then. The wine is heavy, dense, sweet; more of an aperitif than a wine. I suspect it would be lighter if modified as in several of your recipes. 4 qts. dandelion blooms (including green parts); 1 gal. boiling water; 2 lemons, in wedges; 2 oranges, in wedges; 1 lb. seeded raisins (either golden or dark); 1 cake yeast (baking yeast); 3 lbs. sugar. Pour water over dandelions and let stand for 24 hrs. Strain out blooms and add rest of ingredients. Cover. Let sit 3 weeks, stirring once each day. Strain, let settle, and decant. Makes 1 gal.

    I would fill a brown paper grocery sack full of blooms and modify the quantities above accordingly, using a 20 gal. crock with a dinner plate for a lid.

    I had a friend who made beer, elderberry wine, and dandelion wine; his dandelion wine came out light and sweet, but I never got his recipe.

  4. lee says:

    Hi Sue, thanks for the recipe. Maybe I’ll try this one next year, as I’ve noticed several using raisins for a heavier body and I’d like to see how it’s different. I also appreciate that most recipes (such as yours) aren’t nearly so fussy. No picking the bloom part off the flower, no peeling just the rind of the orange .. fussiness appeals to my nature, but after doing it once I think simplicity appeals to my sanity!

  5. Pingback: Don’t eat all your mistakes | Farm Folly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *