Recipes-How To Make Dandelion Wines




Dandelion Wines
Special Recipe Collection
"Dandelion wine is fermented sunshine." Jack Keller

Dandelion wine is one of my favorite white wines, bar none. Dandelion is from the Old French dens leonis, or lion's tooth (from the sharply indented leaves) and Middle English dent de lion. I don't know anyone who doesn't recognize the bright yellow, many rayed flowers of Taraxacum officinale at first glance. Most think of it as a weed, but others look upon them differently. My wife actually planteddandelions in one of our flower beds, and the result was quite stunning when they bloomed en mass . Others look upon their leaves as salad or greens, and indeed they are quite edible raw or steamed until the flower appears, at which time its greenery becomes bitter. But for the winemaker, the dandelion simply makes the best flower wine there is.
Thought by some to have been brought to America from Europe, at least two sources report that several North American Indian tribes have traditionally used the dandelion for food and medicine. Thus, it seems likely that the dandelion inhabited both the old world and the new before Columbus ever sailed.
The approach to making dandelion wine differs enormously, as the collection of recipes below will demonstrate. Some us the whole flower heads trimmed only of the stalks. Still others use the flowerheads trimmed of all greenery. Others will use only the petals. Personally, I use the petals only, but have made several batches where the calyx (the green cuplike sepals enclosing the lower portion of the flower) is left on some of the flowers. My own recipes are the last three on this page and they are the only recipes presented here that I will vouch for. Pick the flower heads mid- to late-morning and then wash your hands (they get sticky while picking the flowers), sit in the shade and pull the petals off the flowers.
However, in truth it is the stalks that are bitter and a little greenery from the calyx ("calyces" is the plural) actually adds a little je ne sais pas to the wine if not overdone. This little something is actually engineered into the wine in recipe 30, below, and wines made this way will keep for many, many years.
The recipes below call for as little as a half-pint to two gallons of flowers per gallon of wine. I personally think Ѕ pint is way too few while 2 gallons is overkill by two orders of magnitude. If you want another way of measuring your dandelion harvest, Layk Thomas of Angola, Indiana reports that one quart of loosely packed dandelion petals weighs 80 grams, while one quart of tightly packed petals weighs 100 grams. Whole blossoms weigh 110-120 grams per quart.
Dandelion wine is typically a light wine lacking body. Thus many recipes use raisins, sultanas or white grape juice (or concentrate) as body-builders, but you could use dates or figs or rhubarb instead. Whatever you use will affect the color, so white or golden raisins or sultanas, or golden figs, are usually used with dandelions (some of these are usually available in bulk at Sun Harvest, Giant Foods, or many other stores).
Many of these recipes call for 3 lbs granulated sugar per gallon of wine -- some even call for 4. Personally, this is too much for me. Whether this much sugar will produce a dry, semi-sweet or sweet wine will depend on whether you attempt to stabilize the wine and on the yeast you use, as those which are tolerant of higher concentrations of alcohol will still result in drier wine unless even more sugar is added. People should make what they like. If you like dry wine with a reasonable (12% alcohol level), use only enough sugar to achieve a starting specific gravity of 1.088. If you like sweet wine, many of the recipes below will produce it providing you don't use a high-alcohol tolerant yeast. Personally, I prefer my dandelion wines dry to semi-sec, with a finished specific gravity of 1.002 to 1.006. If you omit the body-building ingredient, dandelion wine is light and invigorating and suited perfectly for tossed salad and baked fish (especially trout). If you ferment with a body-enhancer but shave the sugar, the wine will serve well with white-sauced pastas, heavier salads, fish, or fowl. Sweetened, it goes well before or after dinner.

Dandelion Wine (1)


3 qts dandelion flowers
1 lb white raisins
1 gallon water
3 lbs granulated sugar
2 lemons
1 orange
yeast and nutrient
Pick the flowers just before starting, so they're fresh. You do not need to pick the petals off the flower heads, but the heads should be trimmed of any stalk. Put the flowers in a large bowl and bring the water to a boil. Pour the boiling water over the dandelion flowers and cover tightly with cloth or plastic wrap. Leave for two days, stirring twice daily. Do not exceed this time. Pour flowers and water in large pot and bring to a low boil. Add the sugar and the peels (peel thinly and avoid any of the white pith) of the lemons and orange. Boil for one hour, then pour into a crock or plastic pail. Add the juice and pulp of the lemons and orange. Allow to stand until cool (70-75 degrees F.). Add yeast and yeast nutrient, cover, and put in a warm place for three days. Strain and pour into a secondary fermentation vessel (bottle or jug). Add the raisins and fit a fermentation trap to the vessel. Leave until fermentation ceases completely, then rack and bottle. This wine must age six months in the bottle before tasting, but will improve remarkably if allowed a year. [Adapted recipe from C.J.J. Berry's First Steps in Winemaking]

Dandelion Wine (2)


2 qts dandelion flowers
2 lbs 11 ozs granulated sugar
4 oranges
1 gallon water
yeast and nutrient
This is the traditional "Midday Dandelion Wine" of old, named because the flowers must be picked at midday when they are fully open. Pick the flowers and bring into the kitchen. Set one gallon of water to boil. While it heats up to a boil, remove as much of the green material from the flower heads as possible (the original recipe calls for two quarts of petals only, but this will work as long as you end up with two quarts of prepared flowers). Pour the boiling water over the flowers, cover with cloth, and leave to seep for two days. Do not exceed two days. Pour the mixture back into a pot and bring to a boil. Add the peelings from the four oranges (again, no white pith) and boil for ten minutes. Strain through a muslin cloth or bag onto acrock or plastic pail containing the sugar, stirring to dissolve. When cool, add the juice of the oranges, the yeast and yeast nutrient. Pour into secondary fermentation vessel, fit fermentation trap, and allow to ferment completely. Rack and bottle when wine clears. Again, allow it to age six months in the bottle before tasting, but a year will improve it vastly. This wine has less body than the first recipe produces, but every bit as much flavor (some say more!). [Adapted recipe from C.J.J. Berry's First Steps in Winemaking]

Dandelion Wine (3)


2 qts dandelion flowers
2Ѕ lbs granulated sugar
4 oranges (juice only)
1 gallon water
1 tsp yeast nutrient
Chablis wine yeast
Put water on to boil. Stir in sugar until completely dissolved. Meanwhile, wash flowers and trim away all greenery. Put flowers, juice of oranges and yeast nutrient in primary and add boiling water. Stir and cover primary. Allow to cool to room temperature and add activated yeast. After 48 hours, strain off and discard flowers. Transfer to secondary and fit airlock. Ferment to dryness. Rack, top up and refit airlock. Repeat every 60 days until no further sediment is deposited during 60 day period. Stabilize, wait two weeks and rack into bottles. Set aside 6 months before tasting. [Adapted recipe from Leo Zanelli's Home Winemaking from A to Z]


Dandelion Wine (4)


3 qts dandelion flowers
2 lbs 6 ozs granulated sugar
1 lemon (juice and zest)
7 pts water
1 tsp yeast nutrient
Champagne wine yeast
Put water on to boil. Meanwhile, wash flowers and trim away all greenery. Best wine uses only the petals. Put flowers, juice and zest of lemon in primary and add boiling water. Stir and cover primary and set aside for 7 days. Slowly pour contents through nylon straining bag and squeeze to extract all liquid. Combine one quart of the liguid and the sugar in pot and stir while bringing to a boil. Add half of this back to strained liquid, stir in yeast nutrient and pour into secondary to cool. Store remaining half of sugar liquid in capped bottle in refrigerator. When liquid in secondary is at room temperature, add activated yeast and fit airlock. After seven days, rack and add reserved sugar liquid and stir. Refit airlock and ferment to dryness. Rack, top up and refit airlock. Repeat every 60 days until no further sediment is deposited during 60 day period. Stabilize, wait two weeks and rack into bottles. Set aside 6 months before tasting. [Adapted recipe from George Leonard Herter's How to Make the Finest Wines at Home]


Dandelion Wine (5)


3 qts dandelion flowers
1 lb golden raisins
2 lbs 7 ozs granulated sugar
2 lemon (juice and zest)
1 orange (juice and zest)
7 pts water
1 tsp yeast nutrient
all-purpose wine yeast
Put water on to boil. Meanwhile, wash flowers and trim away all stalk. Put flowers in primary and add boiling water. Stir and cover primary and set aside for no more than 3 days, stirring daily. Slowly pour contents through nylon straining bag into 1-gallon boiler and squeeze bag to extract all liquid. Add the sugar and zest of citrus and bring to low boil, holding for one hour. Return to primary, add citrus juice and recover. When cooled to room temperature, stir in yeast nutrient and add yeast. Recover and ferment 3 days. Strain into secondary, add raisins and fit airlock. After wine clears, rack, top up and refit airlock. This wine should be racked and bottled after 6-8 months and cellared another 6 months before drinking. [Adapted recipe from C.J.J. Berry's 130 New Winemaking Recipes]


Dandelion Wine (6)


3 qts dandelion flowers
2/3 cup (150 ml) white grape concentrate
2 lbs 7 ozs granulated sugar
2 lemon (juice and zest)
1 orange (juice and zest)
7 pts water
1 tsp yeast nutrient
all-purpose wine yeast
Put water on to boil. Meanwhile, wash flowers and trim away all stalk. Put flowers in primary and add boiling water. Stir and cover primary and set aside for no more than 3 days, stirring daily. Slowly pour contents through nylon straining bag into 1-gallon boiler and squeeze bag to extract all liquid. Add the sugar and zest of citrus and bring to low boil, holding for one hour. Return to primary, add citrus juice and recover. When cooled to room temperature, stir in yeast nutrient and add yeast. Recover and ferment 3 days. Strain into secondary, add white grape concentrate and fit airlock. After wine clears, rack, top up and refit airlock. This wine should be racked and bottled after 6-8 months and cellared another 6 months before drinking. [Adapted recipe from C.J.J. Berry's 130 New Winemaking Recipes]

Dandelion Wine (7)


4 qts dandelion flowers
1 cup white raisins
3 lbs granulated sugar
4 lemons
4 oranges
1 gallon water
1 tsp yeast nutrient
all-purpose wine yeast
Put water on to boil. Meanwhile, wash flowers and trim away all stalk. Put flowers in primary and add boiling water. Stir and cover primary and set aside 7 days, stirring twice daily. Slowly pour contents through nylon straining bag into clean primary and squeeze bag to extract all liquid. Add the sugar, lemons and oranges cut into ј-inch slices (peel and all) and raisins. Stir well to dissolve sugar and add yeast. Stir daily for 10 days, then strain into secondary. Fit airlock and set aside until wine clears. Rack and set aside another two months. rack again and set aside to age 4 months. Rack into bottles and cellar 6 months before drinking. [Adapted recipe from Mettja C. Roate's How to Make Wine in Your Own Kitchen]



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