Learning how to make dandelion wine is not that hard. The most difficult aspect of creating this tantalizing beverage at home is having the patience to wait for the lengthy fermentation process.
Dandelions look sunny and bright, but they are actually weeds that pop up all over your lawn over the summer. The petals of this flower can be used to make a refreshing fruit wine. Although the recipe we showcase today is loaded with sugar, dandelion wine is quite dry. In some ways, the drink is similar to mead, packing a trademark honeyed taste.
Dandelion wine is best served chilled and aged. Aging it for too long will spoil it, though, so you need to play a delicate balancing act. Alcohol content is moderate. The drink is made by combining the dandelion petals with an acid – usually lemon juice – along with other chemicals like yeast used in the winemaking process.
This drink has been known as a cheap wine for several centuries throughout Europe. Settlers brought the drink with them to the United States where dandelions still managed to grow, even in dry and arid environments.
More like a liquor than a wine, imparting a sweet, warming sensation akin to drinking great brandy, all you’ll need is a gallon of dandelions for each gallon of wine you want to make.
Not only will dandelion wine taste great and give you a mellow buzz, but you could also achieve some health benefits. Dandelions promote digestive health, and they are packed with potassium and vitamins. Unlike other types of wine, dandelion wine might be beneficial for the liver in moderation.
Now, since very few wineries produce dandelion wine on a commercial scale, it’s well worth learning how to make your own at home, and we’ll show you how to do that today. Let’s get right down to business.
I. How To Make Dandelion Wine
If you’ve never made wine before, pack plenty of patience. It takes around 2 years to ferment dandelion wine properly.
First, grab the following supplies:
What You Need
- Dandelion flowers (2 quarts)
- Filtered water (1 gallon)
- Zest and juice (3 medium lemons)
- Zest and juice (3 medium oranges)
- Granulated sugar (1 ½ pounds)
- Chopped golden raisins (3/4 pound)
- Yeast nutrient (1 teaspoon) or cornmeal (2 tablespoons)
- Wine yeast (1 packet) or baking yeast (1/2 teaspoon)
- Simple syrup (1 cup, optional)
What To Do
- Gather all the above ingredients.
- Snip the green parts off the base of the flowers as well as the stems. If you introduce too much of the green parts of the flowers – the calyces – this will impart a bitterness to your dandelion wine.
- Either discard or compost the stems and the calyces. Put all the trimmed petals into a non-reactive container – that means no iron, no copper, and no aluminum.
- Bring the water to a boil. Pour this all over the flower petals. Allow this mixture to sit for 2 hours.
- Line a colander with some cheesecloth or muslin. Place this over the pot and then strain your dandelions. You should press on the flowers gently so you get as much of the liquid out as possible. Discard or compost the petals once you’re done.
- Turn the heat up to high and bring your infusion of strained dandelions to the boil.
- Next, stir in the sugar, the orange juice, and the lemon juice. Mix this until the sugar is dissolved.
- Add the orange zest and the lemon juice. Throw in the chopped raisins, too.
- Remove the pot from the heat, set it aside, and allow it to cool down.
- When the solution has cooled to room temperature, it’s time to stir in the yeast nutrient or cornmeal. Also add your baking yeast or wine.
- Cover the mixture and leave it for 10 to 14 days at room temperature. You should stir the mixture 3 times daily.
- Strain the mixture into a 1-gallon jug. Make sure this is sanitized. Seal the jug using a fermentation lock. Alternatively, use a balloon with a single pinprick in it. This pinprick will allow the gases to escape while active fermentation is taking place, while at the same time ensuring that no harmful bacteria get in.
- Leave the mixture for 3 weeks and then carefully decant it into another jug, also sanitized. This process serves to separate any yeasty sediment that’s accumulated.
- If you notice more than a couple of inches of space at the top of the bottle, add equal parts water and sugar to top it up.
- When the wine becomes clear and the cloudiness is gone, wait a further 30 days. At this stage, decant the mixture carefully into another jug. You could use a siphon to streamline this process. Again, this will leave behind any unwanted sediment that’s built up on the bottom.
- Add an airlock or a balloon with a pinprick to this jug.
- You should repeat the above steps every 3 months over a 9-month period. By this point, there should be almost no sediment forming.
- Decant the mixture into some sanitized bottles.
- Age the dandelion wine for a further year before serving.
II. Some Handy Hints for Getting The Best from Dandelion Wine
You could experiment with different flower wines, including:
You can use these flowers in the same quantities as dandelions, although you should use a lighter hand with lavender due to the pronounced flavor and aroma.
All parts of the dandelion are non-toxic. The whole blossom and the greenery are edible. The stems and leaves are typically discarded when cooking as they don’t deliver much by the way of flavor.
Always used dandelions that are free of contact with pesticides. Rinse the flowers thoroughly before you start making dandelion wine.
Always use a non-reactive container made of glass, ceramic, or food-safe plastic. Avoid metal containers, unless enamel-coated and free of chips.
If you are giving serious thought to winemaking as a hobby, it pays to invest in some basic supplies. Rather than a regular corkscrew, look for a hand corker. This will ensure you safely and securely cork your bottles and you don’t waste two years of hard work making dandelion wine!
If you’ve been looking for a fresh new drink, we hope today’s guide has shown you how to make dandelion wine the easy way.
The bad news, as you’ll see from the recipe above, is that you’ll need to wait a couple of years to enjoy the fruits of your labor. If you’re patient, though, you’ll be reaping the rewards soon enough.
Before you head off today, bookmark our blog. We have a very busy content calendar as we head into the fall months, and we’ll soon be bringing you lots of festive guides to make your gift buying even easier. We update our content daily, so be sure to pop back soon.