A smooth and hearty wine with citrus notes that will warm you from head to toe.
3 quarts dandelion blossoms
1 gallon water
2 oranges, with peel, preferably organic
1 lemon, with peel, preferably organic
3 pounds sugar
1 package wine yeast
1 pound raisins, preferably organic
Collect the blossoms when they are fully open on a sunny day. Remove any green parts; they will impair fermentation.
Bring the water to a boil and pour it over the flowers in a large pot. Cover and let steep for three days.
Prepare the oranges and the lemon. Zest (finely grate) about half the skin off and cut the rest off in very thin strips to minimize the amount of white pith added to the brew. (The pith will make it bitter.)
Finish peeling the citrus, and slice them into thin rounds.
Add the orange and lemon zest to the flower-water mixture and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, strain out solids, then add the sugar, stirring until it is dissolved. Allow to cool.
Add the orange and lemon slices, yeast, and raisins to the liquid. Put everything into a crock with a loose lid (so gas can escape) to ferment. (I covered it with a clean cotton towel held down by a rubber band.)
When the mixture has stopped bubbling (1-2 weeks), fermentation is complete. Strain the liquid through several layers of cheesecloth or a flour sack towel and transfer to sterilized bottles. Slip a deflated balloon over the top of each bottle to monitor for further fermentation. When the balloon remains deflated for 24 hours, fermentation is complete. Cork the bottles and store in a cool, dark place for at least six months before drinking for best flavor. NOTE: Be sure not to seal these tightly before they finish fermenting, and don’t put them somewhere warm. Otherwise, you’ll end up with exploding bottles.
Dandelion wine, believed to be of Celtic origin, is regarded as one of the fine country wines of Europe. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, it was not proper for ladies to drink alcohol; however, dandelion flower wine was considered so therapeutic to the kidneys and digestive system that it was deemed medicinal even for the ladies.