Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Embrace Dandelions

After a long brown, gray and white Midwestern winter dandelions are a beautiful sight. A lawn filled with dandelions has not been sprayed with pesticides. It is healthy and natural as nature intended. Young children pick dandelions and make beautiful bouquets. It is only as one grows older that prejudice develops and the lovely yellow flowers are maligned.

Toast Spring with a glass of Dandelion Wine.

Dandelion Wine

2 qts dandelion flowers
3 lbs granulated sugar
4 oranges
1 tsp. cloves
1 gallon water
yeast and nutrient

This is the traditional "Midday Dandelion Wine" of old, named because the flowers must be picked at midday when they are fully open. Pick the flowers and bring into the kitchen. Set one gallon of water to boil. While it heats up to a boil, remove as much of the green material from the flower heads as possible (the original recipe calls for two quarts of petals only, but this will work as long as you end up with two quarts of prepared flowers). Pour the boiling water over the flowers, cover with cloth, and leave to steep for two days. Do not exceed two days. Pour the mixture back into a pot and bring to a boil. Add the peelings from the four oranges and cloves and boil for ten minutes. Strain through a muslin cloth or bag onto a crock or plastic pail containing the sugar, stirring to dissolve. When cool, add the juice of the oranges, the yeast and yeast nutrient. Pour into secondary fermentation vessel, fit fermentation trap, and allow to ferment completely. Rack and bottle when wine clears and again when no more lees form for 60 days. Aging longer improves flavor.

1 comment:

Cucumbers and Ivy said...

I couldn't agree more that we grow prejudice to the flower as we get older. Perhaps it's because we're told (at least I was)that we will pee the bed after smelling one. It's such a pity to see something so beautiful be so unappreciated.
I hope to try your wine. Thanks for sharing.