16May2007

Dandelion Wine

We decided that when life gives you dandelions, you should make wine! Our friends Thomas and Missy in Slippery Rock, PA gifted us a bottle of their dandelion wine from last year that was delicious and floral tasting, and we resolved that we should try making it sometime. First we needed a recipe, and through our moving process we uncovered and dusted off a book we bought on our honeymoon to England called Medicinal Country Wines (incidentally, we bought it at a monk’s abbey gift shoppe along with tons of honey and beeswax!) It gives recipes for tons of wines that have supposed medicinal qualities, like carrot wine, date wine, beetroot wine, and (interestingly) barley wine – isn’t that beer? The liner notes for the barley wine mention that it is “a proven tonic for people convalescing after liver and kidney complaints or jaundice”. Well, being that we neither had jaundice or barley, we flipped to the dandelion wine recipe and decided that Monday was the day. We purposely ended our farm day early, as all of the dandelion heads were bright yellow and beckoning us. We gathered a five gallon pail of just blossoms with pollen stained hands, and then just followed the recipe. We’re currently in the first fermentation phase, which should last for 7 days, and looking forward to the bottling stage, and then the 6 month wait – which isn’t too bad after trying to make mead, which takes a year after bottling to get tasty! So, this November when we’re pining for Spring, we’ll bust open a bottle of dandelion wine! By the way, the liner notes for dandelion wine read “An ancient wine medicine that is so highly regarded as a country beverage that the beneficial medicinal properties have been largely forgotten. It is a source of Vitamins A, B, C, E & K. It is a cholagogue, aperient, stomachic, and diuretic. By the promotion of bile, it aids in the stimulation of appetite. It helps the body to secrete toxins and body fluids. It is said to be beneficial as a mild laxative, for treatment of dyspepsia, insomnia, jaundice and other liver problems.” SO! It looks like we’ve got our bases covered! If anyone wants to find out what cholagogue is, that would be some interesting conversation for the impending cocktail conversation that is sure to ensue. We’ll keep you posted on the process! Salud! Some pics of the process:

Spencer starting to pick
Getting closer and Smeems getting lost in the tall grass
The final moment before first fermentation – pouring in the sugar/yeast/water mixture.

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