Aunt Mary’s Dandelion Wine
The last of the summer wine—part 2
Aunt Mary had a summer kitchen—out on a screened back porch. It kept the house cool during summer cooking and was easy to hose down after a messy tomato canning day. And she also made her summer wines out there. She’d send the kids out early to pick dandelions and pull the flowers apart. Then she’d turn water and flowers into wine. You can too.
• 2 ½ quarts water (10 cups)
• 3 cups sugar
• 4 cups fresh dandelion flowers—picked early on a dry sunny morning
• 1 pkt dry yeast (.25 oz)
• 2 oranges
• 1 lemon
Separate the yellow dandelion petals from the green receptacle—scissors work fine for this. Bring water and sugar to a boil—stir to dissolve sugar then cool to just warm. Finely chop oranges and lemon. Put the dandelion petals and citrus in water/sugar mixture and stir well. Dissolve dry yeast in warm water for 5 minutes then add to pot. Stir thoroughly. Pour into large glass jars, loosely cover and let sit for 48 hours in a dark place—then strain and discard solids. Return wine to cleaned glass jar(s).
But do not replace jar top—instead, fit a plastic grocery bag loosely over the open jar and secure with rubber band. Ferment for about 3 weeks, stirring every other day—gas will inflate the plastic bag. Replace plastic bag after stirring. You’ll know fermentation has about finished when bag no longer fills with gas.
Carefully rack or siphon wine into corked bottles—don’t disturb sediment. Put balloons over tops of bottles for a week or so to make sure fermentation has finished (when gas no longer fills balloons). Then cork bottles and age until the snow flies (6 months or so). Summer in a bottle, in January.
The Kitchen Hive