For years I have wanted to make dandelion wine. Every time we drove by a large “crop” of dandelions I would again mention the dream. I finally have my own “crop” and have made dandelion wine.
Using a recipe that grandma Dode submitted to a church cookbook years ago I began the adventure. I used her recipe as a guideline because I had the dandelions but I did not have enough oranges or sugar. So a backed off on the water and did a little substituting. So far so good.
I ran the citrus and raisins through my meat grinder and combined everything into 3 crocks; a 2 gallon and 2-1 gallon crocks. It was three small or the big 10 gallon sauerkraut crock. Once everything was mixed I laid a flour sack towel over them and there they sat. For the next ten days I stirred each crock once a day using a wooden spoon. I wasn’t sure if the same “no metal” rule that applied to kefir and kombucha would apply to wine and didn’t want to chance it.
In the very beginning when I added the water to the dandelions I began to rethink my endeavor. These crocks smelled just like barnyard grass clipping, serve me up a glass of that! Not so much. But the next few days the citrus flavor took over and it was quite pleasant.
Days 5 and 6 had a strong yeast smell. It was a healthy yeast smell, not the pungent “it might be bad” smell. This was the point the slight carbonation had begun.
The last couple days before bottling the yeast smell lessened and a was replaced by a lighter citrus one. Quite pleasant really.
After the ten days were up and I was sick of having the crocks taking up so much counter space it was time for bottling. I strained the chunks from the liquid using a sanitized flour sack towel then poured the wine into the bottles and corked them. I labeled each bottle and put them to age in the cellar. A quick sample tasted quite good actually. Now for the long wait until it’s “real” tasting time.
Ok, so after I finished typing this, the first issue arose. I noticed a cork on the dining room table and didn’t think too much of it.
“Maybe I dropped on during bottling and didn’t notice.”
Then, just as I was going up bed, POP! The wine was shooting out of the bottle across the dining room floor! My husband and I quickly got that mess cleaned up and discovered a second empty bottle which explained the mystery cork from earlier.
After a quick search I figured I bottled the wine before the fermenting was done. Knowing this and knowing that it was only a matter of time before more exploded I proceeded to uncork each bottle. Each one shot out like champagne. I combined bottles and figured I was down about 5 bottle when it was done. Each filled bottle was fitted with a balloon which works as a cask would and placed in the basement to finish fermenting.
UPDATE: Check out part 2 here. I changed from balloons and bottles to a glass cask for the long fermenting.
Below is the exact recipe. I did not measure what I did when I made mine and did make a couple other small changes, but it was based off of this.
Next up dandelion jelly and maybe some rhubarb wine or raspberry brandy!