Earlier in the week, myself and the youngest decided to go off foraging and see if we could make a batch of dandelion wine. A gallon of wine from a common old weed must definitely worth a try!
Off we set to our local woods – where it has to be said, there were enough dandelions to go around the entire village, and quickly set to work on the pickathon. The recipe calls for just the flowers, so we tried to pick just the yellow heads. One gallon of wine needs one gallon of dandelion petals, and we found that a full carrier bag of flowers is more than enough to do the job, and after we’d gathered them our hands were an interesting shade of mustard.
As well as the flowers, we also needed:
4.5 litres of water
Zest and juice of 4 lemons
500g raisins, whizzed in a food processor to chop up
1 teaspoon of brewer’s wine yeast
All containers and equipment also had to be sterilised and we used Milton’s tablets for this.
Boil the water and pour over the petals. Cover and leave for a couple of days, stirring occasionally. This mixture looks like a bowl of sludgy seaweed… don’t be put off.
Pour everything into a large saucepan and add the lemon zest, bring to the boil then stir in the sugar until dissolved. Continue to boil for five minutes. Take off the heat and add the lemon juice and the crushed raisins or grape juice concentrate.
Clean and sterilise the fermenting container – we used a big plastic punch bowl – thoroughly, pour in the mix and cover until cool. Add the yeast and yeast nutrient and cover with cling film. Ferment for three or four days, strain the petals off through some sterilised gauze or voile then transfer into a demijohn using a sterilised funnel. Fit an airlock cork and allow to ferment for a couple of months.
Ours is now bubbling away, and so it’s in a warm place, out of direct sunlight, I’ve wrapped it in a towl and put it in the shed.
Once it’s finished fermenting I will need to siphon the clear liquid off the debris at the bottom of the demijohn and leave to clear further in a cool place. Once it’s clear I’ll transfer it into bottles.
Hopefully we’ll be sampling the fruits of our labour at the end of summer. I’m hoping for good results…