Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Dandelion Wine

While taking a leisurely morning stroll through Winnemac park with David and my baby Cadence, we stopped to look at all the dandelion patches. David already told me about sensible foraging tips. And after locating what looked like pretty healthy and undisturbed patches, we started gnawing on some of their leaves. Dandelion is a source of potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphorus and iron. The leaves are a richer source of Vitamin A than carrots and contain some amounts of Vitamins B, C and D. So then we had the idea to make some dandelion wine.

The next morning we cycled back to forage. Looking at some recipes online informed us that we had to pick a good 2 quarts of flower petals. While Cadence ran around in the wind, we sat down and plucked away. It's a good thing we got there early that morning, because the ground crew were already out cutting the lawn. We collected our bounty just in time.

All the recipes for dandelion wine called for water and white sugar. Not so good for our tastes. Instead we decided to go with a mead recipe that was close to one I made before. Here's the recipe we came up with.

Dandelion Wine
1 gallon
Brewed 5/17/07

2.5 lbs. Raw Honey
75 oz. Organic White Grape Juice
64 oz. Dandelion Tea (2 qt flowers in 64 oz. water)
1 Large Lemon Rind & Juice
1 Minneola Rind & Juice
.5 tsp yeast nutrient
Irish Moss

Wyeast Dry Mead Yeast

I include this one as a "healing beer" because it has a lot of healthy fermentables in it. After it's fermented, hopefully it will be a refreshing and healthy beverage. Our goal is to drink it fresh/young in September as our final CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) organic food shares come in.

We are excited to support a local organic family farm out in Brodhead, WI. Its called Scotch Hill Farm. They grow over 100 varieties of vegetables and herbs in rotating crops throughout the year and make all-natural goat milk soaps. Tony drives into Chicago to deliver the produce every week at a number of locations (Oak Park, Logan Square & Ravenswood).

CSA organic food shares/recipes will add a lot more meaning to the beers and wine we make. Hopefully we will uncover a synergy of Slow Food meals matched with great tasting home made beers & wine.


Travis said...

I had always heard wise tales about dandelion wine as a kid growing up. I remember thinking that it would be gross (as I had eaten dandelion's as a kid).

Hearing you describe it I have to say, I am tempted to get out and do some picking myself.

I can't wait to hear you review this one. Is this your fist time with this?

Ted Danyluk said...

This is my first time brewing a dandelion wine. Because the smell and taste of a dandelion flower is as good as nothin, I wan't sure how the they would contribute any flavor at all. But after steeping them in very hot water for a couple days, its clear that they actually do have a big full sweet "wort-like" aroma and taste. Most recipes call for simple white sugar and a number of oranges and lemons which probably allows the dandelions be the "showcase" flavor. Since we went with a mead recipe, I'm really curious how the flavors may blend.

Apparently, early Spring is the best time to forage for dandelions and other urban herbs. I also read that Fall is another good time. Not sure why, but sometimes I simply follow what other people say, when they seem to know what they are talking about. HA!

This is the third time making mead. The first was a flop. The second was cyser very similar to this pyment recipe, and turned out great. I will post about those at some point.

Now I wonder if long steeps can be done with other flowers and herbs in order to produce full accent flavors. Don't see why not.

I'll definitely post the results, but you'll have to wait until around September/October. So hang in there.

Orange Loren said...

You've entered an area that intrigues me more so. I mean, not very alchy drinker anyways, but I love the sound of it. makes me wonder if any'd be ready in mid August to taste??

Ah well, dandelions, lemon, and honey? Sounds fun and fresh. I hope it turns out well, of course. I'm sure other flowers must work out.. I guess it's just figuring out which ones will work out nicely, eh? Skål!

Tammie Lee said...

Hello, I am searching a recipe for dandelion wine or mead. I picked my flowers today because they will be mowed tomorrow, so I am late of figuring it all out.

I am wondering if you liked the results of this recipe?

Also where do I find yeast nutrient?
How much Irish moss did you use and how?

If you are not happy with this, have you found another recipe?

Thanks so much!

Ted Danyluk said...

tammie, My brother liked this recipe a lot. I wasn't satisfied with it because I felt the more delicate dandelion flavor didn't come through enough. I think the honey and grape juice and citrus flavors were too much for it. Next time I may use sugar as the base, and a touch of honey or raisins for a hint of complexity. I don't care for citric acid in meads, so I would probably try to use other acids available at the homebrew store.

Most recipes call for sugar as the fermentable. As you can see in the many recipes at this site...

I'd say pick one and go with it. It's either something you will want to explore again soon, or next year. Perhaps collect even more flowers and try two different recipes. I'd say, you probably can't collect and steep more than enough.

I'd really like to know what you choose to do, and how you like it.

You can find yeast nutrient at a local homebrew store. I probably only used about .25-.5 tsp irish moss then rehydrated it.

Thanks for visiting and your comment.

Anonymous said...

I have made several batches of Dandelion Wine and the best tasting was one which I used "Natural Sugar" along with some Tupelo Honey.(Dont overdo the sweateners) That receipe was similiar to most you find on line but remember to add about a cup of very strong tea per gallon and avoid any citrus pith. ( I used oranges lemons and limes). My receipe included 4 cloves per gallon and a teaspon of powdered Ginger. It also included a 1/2 cup of chopped dates per gallon which did give it some body. I avoided raisins and grape juice and dont have a clue about Irish moss.I did not have yeast nutrient but added a cup of rice to a gallon and cook this with the must in the begining and filter all the solids out after primary fermntation is done.Note: I took the blossoms off after the extraction process which is when you let the blosoms set in the water you heated them in for two days. At that pont add spice,sweateners, other juices, zest tea etc. heat and then when cool add yeast and then you are in primary fermentation.