Learn how to identify, use, and appreciate the common weeds of eastern Pennsylvania. “Weeds” are some of the most safe, nutritious, and valuable of all plants. Join me in a videos and posts about my seasonally changing search for wild plants such as mustard, violet, bittercress, watercress, chickweed, dandelion, nettle, false nettle, self-heal, burdock, milkweed, shamrock, red clover, raspberry and all cane fruits, and more. Please find my Dandelion Weed Walk video here.
Dandelion Wine Recipe from Karen Palcho
Yield 1 gallon
3-5 quarts by volume dandelion blossoms
5-6 quarts water
2.5-3 pounds sugar or honey. The more sugar, the higher the alcohol percentage.
2-3 citrus fruits, any kind
1 package dry yeast (approx. 8 grams). Any bread yeast will work. A white wine or champagne yeast is best.
Bottles with caps or corks: any very clean wine or beer bottles will do. Canning jars will do.
- Pick blossoms, removing stem and calyx (the green parts.) There is no need to ‘wash’ the blossoms.
- Place blossoms in a clean, large non-reactive pot (glass, ceramic, enamel)
- Boil the water, pour over blossoms. Water should cover blossoms by 1-3 inches. Add more water if necessary. Set aside at room temperature, out of direct sunlight for 2-3 days, stirring a little everyday. Strain through a cheesecloth lined colander (any cloth will do.) into a cook pot.
- Add sugar and citrus rind. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30-60 minutes. Cool to around 100 degrees. Add citrus juice. Sprinkle yeast on surface. Cover and keep at room temperature for 2-3 days. You should see active bubbling as the yeast digests the sugars, starches and proteins and excretes CO2 and ethanol. Then, the ferment will quiet down.
- Strain again into a glass or plastic jug or carboy, leaving sediment behind. You must exclude oxygen from now on. You need an airlock. An airlock can be made with a balloon. Fit the balloon over the opening. Release the trapped CO2 from time to time. There are many other ways to make an airlock.
- Set aside at room temperature for another 2-3 months for aging. Aging balances and develops flavor, just as in grape wine.
- Decant the wine once again to leave sediment behind. Fill very clean bottles or jars and cap or cork to seal well. Let age once more for a month or two. The traditional time to enjoy the first sip of spring Dandelion sunshine is on the winter solstice.
- There are many other recipes online and the wine can be made much more quickly than this.