Medium
Time:

48 hours

Takes:

3 months

Makes:

1 gallon dandelion wine

Costs:

$12

The Mellowest Yellow: Dandelion Wine

We’re turning weeds into wine.
Materials
  • 12 c dandelion flowers
  • 1 c honey
  • 2 ½ pounds brown sugar
  • 1 orange rind, chopped
  • 1 lemon rind, chopped
  • 1 gallon filtered water
  • 2 tbsp fresh, chopped ginger
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 package wine yeast
  • 1 c orange juice
  • 1/2 c lemon juice

Overachievers

Don’t toss those dandelion greens! They make a great addition to salads, or, if you’re feeling especially culinary, can even be made into pesto:

1 clove garlic, minced
⅓ c hazelnuts
2 c dandelion greens
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp salt
¼ c olive oil

Toast the hazelnuts over medium high heat for 5 minutes. Let cool, then dump out onto a clean kitchen towel and rub together to remove skins. Blend garlic and hazelnuts in a food processor and process until you have a fine powder. Add dandelion greens, Parmesan, and salt, and continue with the processing. Add olive oil until you have a creamy paste. Refrigerate for 3 days or freeze for up to a month.

One man’s weed is another man’s wine...or at least, it can be. Round up the troops to pick your pesky dandelions and turn those babies into out-and-out wine (with a little help from Father Fermentation).

Lesson Plan

  1. Pick the dandelions right before using them so they are as fresh as possible. By the time you hit your dandelion quota, your fingers will be super sticky and stained bright yellow — it’s best to prepare yourself mentally for this outcome.
  2. Remove all green parts from the flowers — you don’t need to pick the petals off the flower heads, but the heads should be trimmed of any stalk. Rinse.
  3. Set flowers in a large pot. Boil water separately, then pour over the flowers. Cover pot with plastic wrap and set aside for two days, stirring once each day. This gives you a tea that is the bittering agent for the wine (think: what hops are to beer).
  4. After two days of soaking, bring flower and water mix to a boil. Once the water boils, add in sugar, honey, and fruit peels, being careful not to get any pith into the mix. Boil for an hour.
  5. After an hour, turn off heat and add in the juice and pulp of the citrus fruits.
  6. Allow to cool.
  7. Once the mixture is chilled, add in the wine yeast. Pour into a glass container, cover, and set aside for a month in a dark place to ferment. (Warning: things will get fragrant.)
  8. Strain and decant into sealable glass jars, and allow to stew for at least three months in a cool, dark place. Serve chilled.