Thursday, May 11, 2006

Dandelion Wine, Anyone?

The laneway at Amber Fox is wild with dandelions.
Botanical: Taraxacum officinale (WEBER)
Family: N.O. Compositae

There must be thousands. They say you can tell if someone likes butter by holding a dandelion under his chin and seeing how much pollen sticks. The more yellow, the more you like butter. Right now Amber Fox is dairy heaven. (Don't worry, cholesterol watchers, all recipes come from The Slenderella Cookbook.)

Dandelions are amazingly useful, and there's a great site called, A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M. Grieve, that tells you many ways to prepare them, both for medicine and food. On the menu at Amber Fox today is dandelion salad and flower fritters. We'll let you know how it turns out.

Some at Amber Fox are interested in wine of all kinds, and there's loads of information on The Winemaking Home Page. I like their slogan,
"Dandelion wine is fermented sunshine."

It seems there are as many recipes for dandelion wine as there are winemakers. Here's one from the site that we may try.

* 3 qts dandelion flowers
* 1 lb white raisins
* 1 gallon water
* 3 lbs granulated sugar
* 2 lemons
* 1 orange
* yeast and nutrient

Pick the flowers just before starting, so they're fresh. You do not need to pick the petals off the flower heads, but the heads should be trimmed of any stalk. Put the flowers in a large bowl. Set aside 1 pint of water and bring the remainder to a boil. Pour the boiling water over the dandelion flowers and cover tightly with cloth or plastic wrap. Leave for two days, stirring twice daily. Do not exceed this time. Pour flowers and water in large pot and bring to a low boil. Add the sugar and the peels (peel thinly and avoid any of the white pith) of the lemons and orange. Boil for one hour, then pour into a crock or plastic pail. Add the juice and pulp of the lemons and orange. Allow to stand until cool (70-75 degrees F.). Add yeast and yeast nutrient, cover, and put in a warm place for three days. Strain and pour into a secondary fermentation vessel (bottle or jug). Add the raisins and fit a fermentation trap to the vessel. Leave until fermentation ceases completely, then rack and add the reserved pint of water and whatever else is required to top up. Refit the airlock and set aside until clear. Rack and bottle. This wine must age six months in the bottle before tasting, but will improve remarkably if allowed a year. [Adapted recipe from C.J.J. Berry's First Steps in Winemaking]


Boy Ricky said...

I hope you can get a a group to pick the yellow blooms at the gathering. Six months and the wine could be enjoyed in the late fall!

Anonymous said...

Maybe the photo was taken after drinking too much dandeline wine....