Many people have heard of dandelion wine, but not many have had the pleasure of actually tasting it. This recipe captures the sunny color of spring's dandelion flowers. Despite the sugar in the recipe, once fully fermented the result is a deliciously dry wine.
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Yield: 3 1/2 quarts or liters
2 quarts/liters dandelion flowers
- 3/4 pound/340 grams chopped golden raisins
- 1 1/2 pounds/680 grams sugar
- Juice and zest of 3 lemons (but not the bitter white inner peel)
- Juice and zest of 3 oranges (ditto)
- 1 teaspoon yeast nutrient or 2 tablespoons corn meal
- 1 gallon/3.78 liters filtered water
- 1 packet wine yeast or ½ teaspoon baking yeast
1. Snip off most of the calyxes (green parts) from the base of the flowers and all of the stems. It’s okay if a little of the green goes in, but too much will result in a bitter wine. Compost or discard the calyxes and stems. Put the trimmed petals in a non-reactive vessel (no aluminum, copper, or iron).
2. Bring the water to a boil and pour it over the flower petals. Let the mixture sit for 2 hours. Strain through a colander lined with cheesecloth or butter muslin. Press gently on the flowers to extract as much of the liquid as possible. Keep the liquid and compost or discard the dandelion petals.
3. In a large, non-reactive pot, bring the strained dandelion infusion to a boil. Stir in the citrus juices and sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the lemon and orange zest and the chopped raisins. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
4. When the mixture has cooled to room temperature, stir in the yeast nutrient or cornmeal and the wine or baking yeast. Cover and leave at room temperature for 10 to 14 days, stirring 3 times each day.
5. Strain into a sanitized one gallon jug and seal with either a fermentation lock (available from online home brewing and winemaking suppliers), or a balloon with a single pinprick in it. The pinprick allows gasses to escape during active fermentation, but the ballon still keeps detrimental bacteria out.
6. After 3 weeks, siphon or carefully pour the liquid into another sanitized jug, leaving behind any yeasty sediment. If there is more than 2 inches between the top of the wine and the rim of the bottle, top off with a simple syrup of equal parts sugar and water.
7. When the wine is clear rather than cloudy, wait 30 days then siphon or carefully pour it into another jug, leaving behind any yeasty sediment on the bottom. Refit with airlock or pricked balloon. Repeat this procedure every 3 months for 9 months until almost no sediment is forming on the bottom of the jug any more.
8. Funnel into sanitized bottles. Cork the bottles (I recommend getting a hand-corker from a winemaking supply company. They are cheap and do a much better job of securely corking the bottles than you can do without one).
9. Age for another year before drinking. Patience - dandelion wine is worth the wait!