yields about 1 gallon

  • 1 gallon washed dandelion petals
  • 1 gallon boiling water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 oranges, peeled and sliced
  • 4 lbs of sugar
  • 1 packet of wine yeast

Pick the dandelion flowerheads mid- to late-morning and then wash your hands, sit in the shade and pull the petals off the flowers; you can freeze dandelion petals until you have enough. Caution: Make sure your dandelions are poison-free!: While most pesticides can be easily washed off (consider that they are used in herb gardens as well), dandelions are often considered weeds and are sprayed with herbicides, which are entirely different.

Combine water and blossoms in a crock — cover tightly with cloth or plastic wrap and let stand for 24 hours, then strain through muslin or other clean cloth. Add the rest of the ingredients, recover and allow to set for about three days before straining into a secondary fermentation vessel fitted with a fermentation lock. The lock prevents impurities from contaminating your brew while allowing fermentation gasses to escape.... if you can't find a lock [looks like a water-filled u-joint], make your own by drilling a hole into an old clean wine cork, stick it on your fermentation jug, then run a length of tubing from there into a jug of water, ensuring that the tube extends into the water. Wait about three three weeks, then bottle; do not bottle before the wine "falls clear." One day your wine will be a milky yellow color and over the course of about thirty minutes is will suddenly begin to clear as the pigments and yeast "fall" and a thick layer of very fine lees will settle across the bottom. In enology, patience is the highest virtue. Age for at least 2 months.

Dandelion wine is typically a light wine with little body. Add about a pound of raisins, dates, figs, apricots, or rhubarb as a body-builder if desired. Whatever you use will affect the color, so golden raisins, golden figs or dried (unsulfured) apricots might be preferred. If you omit the body-building ingredient, dandelion wine is suited perfectly to tossed salads and fish. The quantity of sugar in the recipe above results in a very sweet wine — use half to one pound less sugar to make a drier wine.

Note that this recipe is very much like one used by prisoners to make Pruno. Be sure to visit our Alcohol page to see what else you can ferment in your cell.

How did your wine taste?

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2008-06-04 23:23:35   Actually, you will find that this recipe is *nothing* like pruno or prison wine. I find it deplorable that people compare home brew and country wines to prison wine. Dandelion wine is something my grandfather used to make for my grandmother when they were young, not some mashed up mess made of fruit and ketchup and fermented in a toilet.

Dandelion wine, made properly, has a delicate flavor that is comparable slightly to mead. The flower tea you make to start with comes out smelling and tasting like honey when sweetened. Many recipes call for way too much orange or lemon, which only drowns out the flavor of the dandelions. This recipe is WAY too heavy on the citrus and will come out like orange wine instead. I would use one orange and one lemon with 3 to 3.5 lbs sugar.

If you do make dandelion wine, I have to recommend something. I've actually wound up with not enough dandelions to top up the bottle after racking. I'd recommend making half again as much dandelion tea and freezing it or simply freezing half again the amount of flowers so that you have them when you need them later. After that first massive spring bloom, dandelions can be few and far between. By the time you need them, you might wind up with five flowers, where you had hundreds or thousands before. —neferset