Saturday, January 10, 2009

Dandelion Wine

As y'all have probably figured out, I'm a lazy bloggista who doesn't do pictures of my own, I merely steal them from a google images search. Nevertheless, this is pretty much what my dandelion wine looked like as it went through its fermenting and holding stages.

Dandelion wine is something you make as soon as the dandelions blossom, sometime in early May. And last May, I harvested bags and bags of the blossoms from various fields and lawns and wherever I found them, as long as they weren't sprayed with chemicals. At that time, I was focused on the blossoms, as I wanted to make dandeldion wine, but this coming May, I'll be getting greens and roots as well as blossoms at all the same time. I'm awfully hungry for wild greens here in gray, cold January and I could have frozen lots more than I did.

The bags and bags of blossoms became dandelion wine. This was the first time I'd made it, so I used a recipe which I got at Jack Keller's winemaking page. There you can find a wine recipe for anything, and I do mean anything: cabbage wine, beet and parsnip wine, basketball wine, chickweed wine. You name a fruit, vegetable, herb or any plant known to mankind and Jack Keller probably has a recipe for wine for it. Amazing. Who would've thought? Just kidding about the basketball wine, though. :) I'm planning on making lots more wines next year. Since it was my first time, I wanted to see if it worked first. And did it work!

The recipe said the wine must age for six months, and so I made it, let it ferment, finally tightened the cap at some point and put it away and forgot I even had it. Til yesterday, when I nearly stumbled over it. I picked up the big ol gallon jug, cleaned it off in the sink (it was dusty), and poured a glass. Wow. A very pretty golden-yellow liquour flowed into my wine glass.

And it was tasty, rather more sweet than I'm usually inclined to, and more potent than I thought too. I had a few glasses by the time the day was done and I had definitely drank more than I should have. It was delicious, with a tiny dandelionish bitterness underneath that I enjoyed.

The wine-making process isn't difficult with this kind of wine. I didn't have the fermentation airlock thing, so I just put cheesecloth over the top of the bottle and only put on the cap and tightened it when it was done fermenting. Nor did I rebottle it, I just left it in its jug.

Alcohol is one of the traditional means of preserving food. And rather than spend a lot of money on weed-killer, just pick those dandelion blossoms and make wine with them. You'll be glad you did, as it is excellent in mid-winter, a fine reminder of pretty spring days when everything is greening and blossoming. Man, I can't wait!



Stephanie in AR said...

My aunt & uncle liked to dabble with wine making. I had forgotten about the dandelion wine - theirs only got better with age so that the alcohol seemed to disappear until it gottch later. Hope yours ages gracefully too.

Patricia said...

Thanks, Stephanie. I'll probably hold on to it for a while just to see...

Anonymous said...

I could use some of that wine right about now! Last night a 100+ yr. old water oak came crashing down, hit the edge of the house and crushed my chicken house. Since I only have 2 ckn's & 1 rooster I really cant afford to lose any and thankfully they are ok. got the tree cut up today, got the wire chicken house 'rebuilt' and tonight I sat and watched where the ckns went to roost & when it got dark I got them back into their house. I can't walk tonight, but my ckns are ok, to me that is worth a smile. Now...if I can just figure out why my hen is laying soft shell eggs...something lacking in her diet I think, but just not sure what...she gets grit (oyster shell) egg layer pellets, cracked corn, plus I bake her cornbread, white bread, and anything else I got handy. I even bake ole river catfish for her....anyone got any ideas???
Charli Gribble

Patricia said...

Hey Charli--I don't know anything about chickens, but you could grind up the eggshells and put that back into the chicken feed. It might be calcium that's lacking, but I really have no clue. I'm glad you and the chickens are OK!

Jnichols said...

Sorry to resurrect an old post but which version of the dandelion wine did you make?