If you’re like me, you enjoy seeing the happy yellow flowers of dandelions blooming in your yard. They bring back memories of childhood games, of rubbing pollen on my chin and nose. I’ve also come to adore dandelion greens in my salad and still believe that wishes will come true when dandelion seeds float through the air.
Perhaps one of those wishes was to give me more dandelion blossoms – if so, it definitely came true this year!
Next year when spring is closing in but when winter still has us in it’s grasp, I’ll be enjoying a glass of spring to get me through those last chilly days. Here is the recipe I’m using this year. Several online friends shared their recipes and I picked out some of my favorite bits, making my own conglomeration. I froze my dandelion heads, keeping them in the freezer until I had accumulated enough to make a large batch of wine.
- 3 cups packed dandelion flower petals – remove as much green as possible.
- 1 medium club ginger, sliced
- 1-1/2 cup sugar
- 6 cups boiled, chlorine-free water
- juice and zest of two oranges
- juice and zest of one lemon
- 1/2 t. yeast
- campden tablets
- Sterilize all equipment with boiling water. If you purchased campden tablets you can crush one per gallon of water to ensure sterilization.
- Pour boiling water and campden tablet (optional) over flower petals, sugar, and ginger slices.
- Allow to cool to room temperature then add citrus juices and zest as well as yeast.
- Let steep 8 hours or overnight.
- Strain solids from liquid with strainer or cheesecloth, then siphon into clean, sterilized carboy, watercube, or bottle. Close container with airlock or cotton stuffed balloon.
- Allow to ferment for about 1-2 months. When fermentation stops (the wine will stop bubbling if using an airlock, or the balloon will collapse), sample the wine to sweeten if necessary. Siphon wine into two sterile 750ml bottles and cork.
- Let the wine age for another 3 months before drinking, although it should be better if it ages at least another 6 months.
Country Wine: Equipment and Ingredients
It is possible to make wine with minimum equipment and purchases. The bare necessities (in my humble experience) that you’ll want include:
- Food-grade bucket, preferably 5-gallon. Check with a local bakery or deli.
- A large strainer or sieve plus some cheesecloth.
- About 4-5 feet of food-grade tubing. Look in the plumbing section of a hardware store.
- Gallon-sized glass carboys or 5-gallon collapsible water cubes. Carboys can be saved from juice purchases. The water cubes are fantastic for making odd-sized batches of wine and can be found at camping supply stores.
- Balloons and cotton balls, or airlocks.
- Yeast. You can use regular baking yeast, but if you want a better flavor you can opt for different “wine” strains of yeast found at winemaking/brewing stores. I’ve used Montrachet as it’s recommended to balance the flavors of berry wines.
- Bottles and Corks. I save all my bottles from other purchases like wine, vinegar, juice, and so on. I purchased “mushroom” corks since they don’t require a tool to insert them into the bottles.
- Campden tablets to sterilize equipment, remove stray yeast and bacteria (highly recommended unless you have problems with sulfites).
- Tannin, citric acid, or Earle Grey tea for flavor balance in sweeter wines.
- Extra sugar or wine conditioner to sweeten and brighten finished wine.
- Pectic acid for removing extra pectin and “clarify” wine.
- Yeast nutrient to feed yeast. Recipes without nutrient require extra sugar.
You can purchase all of these items from a wine and beer making supplier or spend a little more energy and locate many things locally. I purchased my airlock, water cube, yeast, campden tablets, and corks from E.C. Kraus. for less than $50. The rest I found locally or did without.
Do you brew anything at home?
You can also find Jennifer at Unearthing This Life trying to take each day as it comes.