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.