Dandelion wine is quite simply one of the best flower wines the home winemaker can make.
As a child I earned extra pocket money collecting dandelion flower heads, for my father’s wine making, I can’t remember being allowed to sample the goods though.
I can remember my mother telling of a very fine, 21 year old, vintage, wine that her grandmother made from dandelions when she (my mother) was born and drunk at my mother’s twenty first birthday party.Why is this plant so maligned by gardeners, personally think of the flowers as a bright and glorious and who hasn’t tested the fidelity of a boyfriend/girlfriend by blowing on the seed head.
And herbalists consider it as a valuable medicinal herb.
Best of all, it does make an exceedingly good light wine.
Dandelion Wine does however, require a bit of added body, which is why most recipes will include a body builder such as raisins, sultanas, dates or even figs.
Below is just one of many variations on the basic Dandelion Wine recipes.
4 litres Dandelion Flower Heads
5 litres Water
1.5 kg Demerara sugar
15 gm. Root Ginger (bruised)
250 gm. Raisins
General Purpose Wine Yeast
Try to pick the flowers on a sunny morning while there is still some dew on them.
All you want is the flower heads, no stalks as they are bitter and no leaves.
You can leave some of the greenery that is on the lower/underneath portion of the flower, some people remove all of this, some leave all of it, I tend to take the middle route.
The flowers are quite light, so the simplest way to measure the required quantity is by volume, by packing them fairly loosely into a measuring jug.
It is best to pick, prepare and then mash the flowers on the same morning.
Put all your prepared flowers into your mashing tub then pour on the boiling water.
Give it all a good stir and then allow it to stand for three days.
On the third day strain the liquid into a large (enamelled pan).
Add the sugar and the zest from the orange and lemon and the ginger.
Bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Top up any liquid loss with boiling water.
Allow to cool then strain.
Add the raisins and the juice from the orange and lemon.
Add the yeast and nutrient then pour into a fermenting jar with an airlock.
Allow it to ferment out.
When fermentation has finished, rack into either a clean demijohn or bottles.
For best results store for one year.
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