Dandelion Wine

Dandelion wineWith much of the country ready to bid farewell to a harsh winter and welcome spring, spring also means pesky dandelions. However, dandelion wine is growing in popularity and is starting to spring up in as many places as the ubiquitous yellow flower itself.

Dandelion wine is fermented from the flowers, specifically the petals; however, the leaves don’t need to go to waste. Plenty of folks enjoy them as a salad addition. The root is a source of tea.

Dandelion Benefits

Dandelions are so much more than weeds, and many people believe them to be the next “super herb,” according to Today’s food section (“Weed wine? Dandelion drinks gain a following”). Dandelion root tea sales are soaring, and Zoe Kissam, herbalist for Traditional Medicinals is quoted in the article, saying, “Dandelions have a rich history in the U.S., and more and more people are re-discovering the nutritional and health benefits associated with all parts of the plant.”

The Dakotas have long enjoyed dandelion wine, and now Murrieta Wine Field in southern California is the first dandelion winery outside of the Midwest. Owner Christalyn Brooks suggests that the taste is similar to a Chardonnay with a bit of a tea taste thrown in.

Making Dandelion Wine

There are plenty of dandelion wine recipes, and many can be made without special equipment. Mother Nature Network’s 5 recipes for dandelion wine shares links to sites that offer the basics. You’ll need dandelion petals, water, a body-building agent (like raisins, figs, or dates), acid (usually citrus), sugar, and yeast. Depending on the recipe, fermentation time can last from three months (ready for Labor Day) to a year.

The article’s author, Robin Shreeves, suggests that if you choose to make dandelion wine that you adopt an attitude of experimentation. A failure led to an undrinkable concoction but turned out to be an ideal weed killer!