Dandelion Wine

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was making homemade hooch but I didn’t say what type I was making.  It’s sort of a funny thing…Emily hates dandelions with a passion.  I don’t understand her issues with them but she goes around the yard picking the heads off of them all the time.  Occasionally she’ll dig the roots, but mostly she just wants the flowers out of sight.  Always one to see an opportunity, I asked her to save the dandelion heads she picked for a project I had in mind!

Wine can be made from all sorts of things including various flowers.  Most people have heard of dandelion wine, but wine can also be made from clover, roses, pansies, coltsfoot, and golden rod among others.  Anyhow, the real key to dandelion wine, is to use the flower petals and not anything green.  I picked a ton of dandelion heads and cut the petals off of them until I had 2 pints of dandelion petals.  That doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you consider the sticky factor, you’ll understand the effort that went in to this project.  My fingers were very yellow and sticky and I left yellow fingerprints all over the place!

Anyhow, I kept remembering how tasty the last batch of dandelion wine was many years ago so I pressed on through the allergies and rainbow of colors on my fingers.  I wrapped the petals in cheesecloth so they would be manageable and started my brew!

In a big open pitcher, I added the petals, 6 pints of water, 3 Campden tablets, 3 lbs of white sugar (as an approximation…remember 2 cups a pound, the whole world round…2 cups of about anything weighs a pound),  1/3 oz of citric acid (taste some of that straight up sometime!), and yeast nutrients.  I let this mixture sit for 2 days in the container loosely covered to keep dust out.  After 2 days, I added champagne yeast and let it sit another day.  Finally, as it started to bubble, I moved everything but the pouch of petals to a fermentation vessel.  The bubbler on top allows the carbon dioxide to escape.  Of course, carbon dioxide is a by product of the yeast converting the sugar to alcohol.

Funny story time…I know someone who was creative and decided to forego the typical bubblers used for fermentation.  Really, the whole point is to allow a bit of CO2 to build up and then force its way out without allowing other contaminants back in.  Some folks take care of that issue by stretching a balloon across the mouth of the fermentation jar.  Well, being extra creative, this person stretched a balloon-like male birth control item over the jar lid.  Of course, this method would work just fine to allow the CO2 to escape.  I am not sure how I would feel about the CO2 building up and…uh…inflating the “balloon” though.  Anyhow, without thinking about it, this winemaker bought the variety with spermicide too.  Some folks say that too much drinking may lead to pregnancy, but I think this may be a solution!

Anyhow, now I have to wait a few months until all of the sugar is converted to alcohol or the alcohol content rises enough to kill the yeast.  Either way, the bubbling will stop and the wine will be ready to settle/age/bottle.  I’ll post more on that when the time comes.

(Here is a windows media version if the above doesn’t work)

In the meantime, I will certainly enjoy watching the bubbles rise through the murky yellow concoction.  It bubbles and fizzes like crazy, very similar to a bottle of pop when first opened!

18 thoughts on “Dandelion Wine

  1. This is quite interesting. Did you save the leaves for your salad? See, dandelions are not all that bad. You can use the flowers for wine and the leaves for salad.
    And June Cleaver is right, this blog is better than porn and this blog talks about bug sex. Cool!

    YDavis’s last blog post..Siblings Are Forever!

  2. I guess it has been a couple of years since they sent me to france. At dinner I drank the wine to at least seem sociable. I didn’t want to insult the french guys. Usually the meals were more than I could eat as well. Anyways, I would have barely taken down one glass and someone would pour more. I was like NO! By the end of the week, it had grown on me. At one meal, they got some special wine and brought out these little wine glasses. I thought how cute. I politely said no thanks. They only poured a small amount in these little glasses. I tasted only a small amount and man it was strong! I am glad I stayed away from that one. Your brew sounds like it will be pretty good.

  3. I am so gonna try this next year. I’m with Emily…not real big on dandelions….this could be a great way to get back at them. Let us know how it tastes….looks like lemonade.

  4. Once upon a time my sister-in-law and I decided to make dandelion wine from the abundance of blooms in my yard. We were 3/4 of the way to our one quart goal when we felt we deserved a break in the shade. By the time we got up they had wilted down to 2 cups. So we went back to work, got to 3 cups again, took another break. Same thing happened. And there were no more dandelions left. So we trashed the flowers and broke out the beers.

  5. I am a bit confused! At the start of the page you said that you asked Emily to save the dandelion heads she picked and later you said YOU picked a ton of them. Now ‘fess-up who picked the dandelions? Oh, and the greens are best before the plant flowers, after that they can get very bitter.
    My grandmother’s secret dandelion wine was sweet with little kick, but my grandfather’s secret recipe would “knock your socks off”, the alcohol content was so high it was flamable, but it tasted more like weed-killer. When mixed together they made an almost drinkable concoction with a pretty decent alcohol content.
    Sadly they both took their recipes to the grave with them. They would gladly share their wine, but not their recipes.

  6. I haven’t tried the wine but last year I made dandelion jelly. It never quite set, it was more like dandelion syrup. My youngest loved it though. It tasted like honey but not as strong. Sure hope your wine turns out.

    Mim’s last blog post..Sheldon In All His Glory

  7. June – you gotta find some new porn I think!

    YD – HA! Thanks! we didn’t eat the leaves, though we should…I just don’t usually think of it. I have had them though and enjoy them.

    Loretta – I can’t imagine you drinking wine…that and poofy hair?!

    Kristen – you should try it! It looks exactly like lemonade…not so good over ice though I think…

    Gizmo – I have had some excellent dandelion wine too…I am def hoping that this turns out that good!

    Kris – you should try it! You could have a dandelion meal!

    Diane – you can freeze the petals too…they seem to keep very well…I froze some extra I had and they look great!

    Kim – She’s a beauty isn’t she!

    GW – oh no…I was kidding about Emily…she pulls the flowers off but didn’t have anything to do with this project…she is only tolerating it now!

    Mim – can you send me the recipe? That sounds like an awesome idea…syrup or jelly!

  8. can you do this with catsear flowers as well?? i’ve been looking all over for nutritional info on the false dandelion and it hasn’t been very fruitful research. i got all excited when i realized i could use the weeds in my front yard for salad, coffee, and wine and upon further research discovered they weren’t dandelions, but catsear :o(

  9. Kat – there are all sorts of flowers you can make into wine…coltsfoot, roses, pansies, etc. Not sure about catsear but if you can eat it, you could probably make wine…but I am not an expert

  10. I was amaze that even the dandelion flower had also a use. The leaves for salad and the flowers for wine.

    I am planning to start another invention like this. I will find some plants that can produce wine and everything. 🙂

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