Even Baptist Grandma approves as apparently this is an old recipe from my grandfather’s family. Once I decided to try the recipe, I did some research and some people get super fancy with their dandelion wine with specialized wine-making gadgets and do-dads. This is not one of those recipes.
A few things to note: if you’re the kind of person who usually sprays their lawn to get rid of their weeds, PICK YOUR DANDELIONS BEFORE SPRAYING. No need to poison yourself for goodness sake. Secondly, make sure to pick the flower, not the stem. The flavor is in the flower…which is basically a phrase I never thought I’d write but here we are.
You’ll need a large pot to hold 12 quarts of water in addition to the dandelions, lemons & oranges. I snagged this ginormous crock from my parents’ house which is awesome but does weigh a ton.
Cheesecloth is going to be your best friend here. You’ll be straining your wine a *minimum* of 5 times. Twice after soaking the dandelions and three more times when you’re ready to bottle. Do yourself a favor and buy 2 packages. You can thank me later.
This recipe calls for a cake of compressed yeast. This is what a cake of compressed yeast looks like. 2 ounces. No, I’d never seen or used one before and I assume there are a few of you out there who haven’t either. It’s located in the refrigerated section of your grocery store by the butter. You’re welcome in advance.
The dandelions are only in use for about 12 hours. Then they’re discarded and the wine then soaks in lemons and oranges, giving us a wine with a decidedly light, citrus taste.
The many many pounds of sugar makes this a dessert wine for sure. Very light but very sweet. A perfect treat for these sunny, warm evenings. (full disclosure: these were bottled after being strained twice per the original recipe, I realized it really needed to be strained again which I did and adjusted the recipe to reflect)
And once you’re done you will basically feel like you can do anything because YOU MADE WINE. So did I. Let’s drink.
- 12 quarts dandelion flowers, rinsed and wrapped in cheesecloth
- 12 quarts boiling water
- 3 oranges, cut into pieces
- 3 lemons, cut into pieces
- 1 cake compressed yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- 10.5 lbs. sugar
- In a large pot (preferably a crock) pour the boiling water over the dandelions. Cover and let stand for 12 hours. Remove the dandelions and strain the water 2x through cheesecloth.
- In a small bowl put the yeast cake in with 1 cup of warm water and a pinch of sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes and if the yeast is starting to bubble after the 5 minutes, your yeast is good and proceed.
- Add the oranges, lemons, yeast and sugar to the water. Cover and let stand for 3 weeks.
- Drain and strain 3x through cheesecloth. Bottle and enjoy.