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While it might be fall, the dandelion wine I made in the spring is now mature enough to drink. It’s a tradition in my family, as the first frost is creeping in, and the leaves are falling, and we’re bracing ourselves for a long, cold winter, to break out our dandelion wine and enjoy a glass in front of the fire. It’s a lovely way to remind us of the hot, humid summer days, and to officially close the summer season. I love this wine. I love that it’s homemade, it’s painfully simple, and doesn’t require a lot of wine-making know-how or even special equipment. With what you can pick from your front lawn, and equipment you already have around the kitchen, you can make your own old-school dandelion wine.
- 1 gallon of dandelion flower heads
- 3 pounds sugar
- 3-4 lemons, zest and juice
- 3-4 oranges, zest and juice
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 6 cups sugar
1. Go out and pick roughly a gallon of open, yellow dandelion blossoms. Try to leave as much of the green part behind as this can be pretty bitter. (Or, pick the whole thing and have dandelion salad tonight!)
2. In a large soup pot, pour enough hot water over the blossoms to cover, bring the heat up to just before boiling and turn the heat off.
3. When the water cools to less than 90 degrees, add the sugar, yeast, zest and juices from the lemons and oranges.
4. Cover with a wash cloth or hand towel and put aside somewhere warm to ferment. It will take roughly 10-14 days depending on your yeast and the temperature in your house. You will know it’s ready when it stops bubbling.
5. Without disturbing the bottom of the pot, scoop out or siphon off your wine into food grade plastic bottles.
6. Let mature for roughly 6 months in a cool, dark place.
I pour off a taste every month or so to see how it’s maturing. Right around when fall hits is when it will be ready and is a beautiful reminder of summer while you sit by the fire.