I love the fact that dandelions are considered a weed. What better way to get rid of them than by turning the little fellas into booze? Here is how it is done
Ingredients for dandelion wine:
- Thee litres of dandelion flowers
- 1 lb raisins
- 3lb sugar
- 1 lemon
- 1 orange
Go into the garden on a sunny day and pull up loads of dandelions. You need to seperate the green stuff from the yellow flowers and only use the yellow flower heads. Obviously they have spent their lives at ground level, so they need to be sterilised. The easiest method is to boil up a few kettles of water and pour a whole gallon over the flowers. Give it a Stir and cover and leave for a couple of days to let the flavour come out.
Now strain and put into a large saucepan. Add the sugar and zest of the orange and lemon and bring to the boil and simmer for fifteen to 20 minutes. Once it has cooled to body heat you can add the yeast. You can also add the raisins at this point. I always chop the raisins in half but other home brewers I respect say it makes no difference whether they are halved carefully or whizzed up for a couple of seconds in the food processor.
Now leave the lot for a couple of days in a fermentation bucket and then transfer to a demijohn with an airlock.
Check at least once a week to make sure the fermentation hasn’t stopped. Once it does, siphon off to a clean demijohn and stopper it up. Leave it for a few months and then, on a sunny autumn evening, crack open the bottle and drink the nectar. Perfection.
Of course, now that you have enjoyed dandelion wine you may find that your garden lawn suffers. Now instead of pulling up dandelions as soon as they appear you may find yourself nursing them and tending them life a prized veg before harvesting them for next years batch. Think that is far fetched? Well, about ten years ago we started picking elder flowers in the local park to make elderflower champagne. We loved it so much we brought our own elder bush which is now growing in the back garden.
Christmas should be about the good things in life. So why spoil it with industrialised, processed rubbish?
Organic Christmas Decorations
These are simle. Decorate with Pine Cones, beeswax candles, Fresh Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe. Use off-cuts of fir trees and dried slices of oranges. Recycled paper decorations are also great.
An old magazine can be turned into a beautiful paper chain. The secret is to group colours carefully. Even newspaper can be good for paperchains, although pulling off plain black and white print as a design style takes a true artist.
Organic Christmas Dinner
Supermarkets do their best organic business over Christmas, so look out in your local stores. However, why not find smaller local organic producers and treat yourself and family to something special this Christmas. We visited a Goose farm where the birds are treated wonderfully well throughout their lives and have a free range lifestyle. Organic food suplements what they forage and the result is the best tasting bird we ever ate.
Christmas Cake, Christmas pudding and even Brandy Butter are all available in organic versions. Why would you choose anything else?
Organic Christmas Presents
This is the time to search the web looking for interesting gifts. A good tip is the Oxfam website where they have lots of really cool, non-mass produced ethnic gifts that make a real difference to the lives of the women and men around the world who are keeping rural crafts alive.
Merry Christmas everyone.