Homemade Dandelion Wine
I know a lot of people just despise these pesky little flowers that seem to completely take over their lawn every summer. I’m the exact opposite. I love Dandelions!! And I love my homemade Dandelion wine. Knowing that something so small and annoying to most people can make such a wonderful and fruity tasting beverage makes me happy.
There are so many wonderful uses for dandelions! I put the greens in my salads, I roast the roots and add it to my coffee, I make dandelion jelly, and I make dandelion wine.
As of late, I have had to be very careful of my foraging efforts. New neighbors have moved into the house beside me. They do not pull weeds, but rather douse them in weed-killer. My entire fence row was obliterated last year thanks to how many chemicals they sprayed on it. I no longer forage in my own yard due to this. I’m sure that they are poisoning my lawn also, but I have no idea how I can get them to realize that even spraying that poison within 15 feet of my garden is causing chaos and unhealthy things to happen. I digress.
Maybe you are lucky enough to live out in the country with only the occasional farmer spraying poison. Hopefully, you have access to somewhere that is untainted by the laziness of man to reap the benefits of dandelions. I wish more people would see them as another food source instead of a weed.
Making this wine does help people see that there are uses for dandelion. We have been brainwashed to believe that those yellow flowers in our yards are bad. We are at war with them. I think sharing not only my wine but my jelly and other foods and uses I have for dandelions makes some people rethink their opinion of dandelions.
Dandelion Wine Start
Without a fermenting bucket, you can still use a glass jug to make a batch of this amazing brew. My first batch was made using just a glass jug fitted with a rubber bung and airlock.
- 1 quart dandelion petals
- 3/4 lb chopped golden raisins
- 2 lbs sugar
- 3 lemons peeled and quartered (can also just use juice & zest, if you prefer)
- 1 tsp yeast nutrient
- 7 1/2 pints water do not use chemically treated city water; boil it first or purchase distilled
- 1 pkt white wine yeast
- 3 oranges peeled and quartered (can also just use juice & zest, if you prefer)
- Prepare flowers before hand, by stripping all the petals from the green. The less green the better, as the green is what will give your wine a bitter taste. Rinse well.
- Bring water to a boil. Pour over prepared dandelion petals.
- Allow to steep for 2 hours up to overnight, as your time allows.
- Strain and press petals out of the water. I use a mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth.
- Return water to a low boil.
- Stir in citrus juice and sugar, stirring well to dissolve.
- Add citrus zest and chopped raisins.
- Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- When room temperature, transfer to your primary fermenting bucket and stir in yeast nutrient and activated yeast. Cover.
- Stir 3 times daily for 10-14 days.
- Strain into secondary jug, carboy or fermenting bucket and fit airlock.
- After 3 weeks, rack (transfer the liquid part and leave the sediment) into another sanitized secondary jug. Top with sterile water and reattach airlock.
- When wine clears, wait 30 days and rack, top off and refit airlock.
- Repeat racking procedure every 3 months for 9 months.
- Rack into bottles and age 6-12 months or longer.
I highly recommend reading up on general brewing practices and bottling methods while this homemade dandelion wine is fermenting. My favorite brewing book is “How To Brew by John J. Palmer. It is focused on home brewing beer, which I am starting to learn and acquiring equipment for. For general bottling, sterilization, and brewing practices this book is amazing.
Just Do It
If you have never foraged or brewed before, don’t be scared to learn. Even if you mess up your first few tries, eventually you will succeed as long as you don’t give up. If you have friends and family that are hard to buy gifts for, making homemade items and creating gift baskets for them is one of the best options out there. You know that they won’t be getting another gift like it from anyone else.
When the weather gets nice, get out there with your bucket or basket and start gathering your dandelions. Don’t worry about what the neighbors may think. If they give you a weird look, just wait until the wine is done and gift them a bottle and tell them what it is. They will never again wonder why the crazy neighbor is picking dandelions.