How to Make Dandelion Wine
Step 1: Kick off your shoes, go outside on a sunny afternoon, and pick 2 quarts’ worth of fresh dandelion blossoms. You need only the flower petals, so pluck them from their heads, and give them a good wash. (The leaves and stems will bitter your wine.)
Step 2: Place your harvest in a large pot, and pour 1 gallon of boiling water over the top. Let steep for 3 days, and then strain the tea through a cheesecloth into a second pot, squeezing all the juice out of the blooms. Compost your flowers.
Step 3: Stir in 9 cups (or 4 pounds) granulated sugar and the juice of 4 oranges and 3 lemons.
Step 4: In 1/2 cup lukewarm water, dissolve 1 packet champagne yeast (available at winemaking supply stores) or active dry yeast (available at any grocery store), and stir it into your pot.
Step 5: Once it’s mixed, pour the wine into a 2-to 3-gallon jug (or several 1-gallon jugs). To prevent it from turning to vinegar, stretch a large balloon over the mouth of the jug. (The balloon will inflate as the wine ferments.) Or, even better, plug it with an air lock, available for a couple of bucks at any winemaking supply store. Set it in a dark closet for about 6 weeks.
Step 6: Strain through a cheesecloth to remove sediment. Repeat as necessary, until the wine runs clear. Pour into bottles or jars. Cork or screw lids on tightly. Serve chilled. It’s like drinking pure sunshine.
More Nifty Tips
• For the best flavor, pick your dandelions when the blossoms are in full bloom.
• Store the blossoms in the freezer if you can’t make the wine immediately.
• Try spicing things up by adding orange and lemon zest, cloves, ginger, cherries, whatever you desire.
• For even smoother wine, add 1 pound of raisins during step 3.