Tis the Season!
Well, for wine making anyhow. My two favourite times of year to begin a brew are Beltaine so that it will be drinkable by Samhain and Samhain, so that it will be drinkable by Beltaine.
Luckily for us, our neighbours abandoned their house when the new road went in, so it has sat empty for over a year now and with Spring being here, and the Spring showers as well, their grass, and other foliage, is growing quite abundantly. They have MANY dandelions, so my husband hopped over the fence today and ‘borrowed’ 2 quarts of dandelions. Actually, he filled half of a Home Depot bucket, but once we removed the greenery we were left with the full 2 quarts called for by the recipe.
Here is the recipe, taken from http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/dandelion.asp
The conversions are as follows. 1 qrt = app. 1 litre (or 4 cups)
We will be popping out tomorrow to grab some bee pollen from the Chilliwack Honey http://www.chilliwackhoney.com/retailers.html . Bee pollen makes a good nutrient. I think also, that even though it ccalls for sugar and not honey, we will be substituting some sugar with a bit of their honey just because it’s SO darned good. I’ll take some follow up pictures as we progress.
This is the traditional “Midday Dandelion Wine” of old, named because the flowers must be picked at midday when they are fully open. Pick the flowers and bring into the kitchen. Set one gallon of water to boil. While it heats up to a boil, remove as much of the green material from the flower heads as possible (the original recipe calls for two quarts of petals only, but this will work as long as you end up with two quarts of prepared flowers). Pour the boiling water over the flowers, cover with cloth, and leave to seep for two days. Do not exceed two days. Pour the mixture back into a pot and bring to a boil. Add the peelings from the four oranges (again, no white pith) and boil for ten minutes. Strain through a muslin cloth or bag onto acrock or plastic pail containing the sugar, stirring to dissolve. When cool, add the juice of the oranges, the yeast and yeast nutrient. Pour into secondary fermentation vessel, fit fermentation trap, and allow to ferment completely. Rack and bottle when wine clears. Again, allow it to age six months in the bottle before tasting, but a year will improve it vastly. This wine has less body than the first recipe produces, but every bit as much flavor (some say more!). [Adapted recipe from C.J.J. Berry’s First Steps in Winemaking]