For book lovers “Dandelion Wine” is an autobiographic novel by Ray Bradbury which was published in 1957. Probably few of his admirers know that it is possible to actually make such wine at home. But don’t worry, I’m here to give you a detailed recipe. Just follow it step by step and you’ll be able to make light-yellow wine with light floral aroma and pleasant mild flavor.
Dandelion flowers are collected from late April till mid-July during warm sunny weather when they have fully blossomed: early in the morning or in the first half of the day. After 3:00 PM their flower buds are gradually closing.
Right after rain dandelions don’t have enough time to collect nectar—this may cause the wine to have a less powerful aroma. You should gather only dandelions that grow far from roads or other dusty locations.
All vessels used should be thoroughly sterilized with boiling water and then wiped dry in order to prevent wine getting infected with pathogenic microorganisms.
- Dandelion – 100 flowers (one-liter jar)
- Water – 4 liters
- Sugar – 1.5 kilos
- 2 big lemons
- Wine Yeast
- Fresh mint – 3-4 sprigs
Lemons are required to stabilize acidity of the must and aromatizing the beverage with zest. You can do without the zest but by adding citric acid (10-12 grams) is essential. Mint gives a pleasant aroma and light flavor notes.
Dandelion Wine Recipe
- Remove yellow petals from receptacles. You can do this using a knife by cutting petals at their base or by hands by tearing each petal.
Using full buds will make your wine go bitter!
- Put the petals into a cooking pot. Pour them with boiling water (4 liters to be exact). Stir them well. Cover the cooking pot with a lid and leave it for a day.
- Filter the mixture through cheesecloth into a vessel with a wide neck. Squeeze the petals and get rid of them.
- Wash the lemons with warm water and wipe them dry. Remove lemon peels with a knife or vegetable shredder but keep the white part of the peel.
- Juice the lemons and pour the obtained juice right into the dandelion water. Add sugar (500 grams), zest, meant, and wine yeast. Stir the mixture until sugar dissolves. Tie the neck of the vessel with cheesecloth. Transfer the must into a dark place with room temperature.
- In 2-3 days you should start seeing the signs of fermentation: foam on the surface, a hissing sound, and light musty smell. Now is the time to add another 500 grams of sugar. Stir the mixture.
- Pour the must into a fermentation vessel (fill it up to 75% of the volume). Prior to that, you should filter out zest, mint. And once finished, attach an airlock.
Classic Air Lock Scheme
A medical glove is also an effective solution if you don’t have an airlock:
The photo depicts fermentation of another type of wine (it’s just an example).
- Transfer the vessel with dandelion wine into a dark room (or cover it with something) with a temperature of 18-25°C.
- In 5-6 days add another 250 grams of sugar. In order to do that you’ll have to remove the airlock, pour 250 ml of contents through a tube into another vessel then dissolve sugar in it, and pour the syrup back into the vessel with wine. Now install the airlock back.
- After 5 days repeat the sugar adding a procedure (another 250 grams).
- Depending on the temperature and yeast activity dandelion wine can ferment for 25-60 days. You can proceed to the next step when the airlock is not emitting gas (or the glove deflates) for no less than a day, there’s sediment at the bottom, and the wine get brighter.
If the wine is fermenting for more than 50 days you should pour it from the sediment. through a tube into another vessel and leave to ferment with the airlock on. If you leave it to ferment with sediment for too long it’s bound to get bitter.
- Pour the fermented dandelion wine from the sediment through a tube. Give it a taste. You can add sugar to your taste. Additionally, you can increase its ABV by adding 2-15% of vodka or alcohol (40-45%). But this will remove the light floral aroma.
- Bottle the wine and fill up the bottles to the brim (no oxygen allowed here). Transfer it to a dark room with a temperature of 6-16°C for aging. Leave it for 4-6 months. If you added sugar in the previous step you should keep the airlock installed for the first 7-10 days.
- Once every 20-30 days pour the wine from sediment (as long as it forms at the bottom).
- After 6 months of aging, you can bottle the young dandelion wine for storing and hermetically seal the bottles.
In a basement or fridge, its shelf life is up to 2 years. 10-12% ABV.