Dandelions Part Three

Dandelions Part Three

Shaws Cove turf, full of dandelions, clover and other weeds

Lol. How I amuse myself. After I finished this morning’s post about dew and fish ponds, I wondered about dandelions. I had walked all over my yard this morning, and could not recall seeing any. How would I ever collect enough to make Hansie 147 if I had already picked my yard clean?

I was concerned that in my yard would not produce enough dandelions. Yesterday afternoon, while walking with a dear friend at Shaws Cove, I gathered about two quarts. I spread them out on a cookie sheet and popped it in the ice box, which is what Gram used to call the cottage freezer. This morning, I awoke worried about ants crawling around the cottage fridge. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

Anyway, after I finished this morning’s post, I just could not recall seeing dandelions, so I went outside to check. So funny – the yard is full of them! There were popping up everywhere. If I were in battle mode, I might have felt defeated. But instead, I was relieved and delighted. I grabbed my nearly weightless plastic pot and gathered what I could find, which counted about fifty. I zipped them into a baggie, and tossed them into my kitchen fridge.

By the way, I checked the dandelions in the garage fridge, and they have frozen nicely. Not at all stuck together. They must have very little moisture. My efforts to freeze them appear satisfactory. I will continue.

I have settled in on a recipe. I very much appreciate comments and questions.

Dandelion Wine

Eight cups sugar

A gallon of dandelions, as they are out of the freezer, hopefully without ants or stems

One gallon, plus maybe two quarts water

3 orange zests, one lemon zest, cloves, cardamon, and ginger

Wine yeast.

Boil for an hour in a big pot. Let cool for a couple of days in the same pot. With minimum disturbance, slowly pour through a filter into another big pot, boil for five minutes, and cool to 100 degrees. Proof yeast in warm water. Pour warm tea into a crock with a spigot, the kind that dispenses a big water jug. Add proofed yeast. Leave in crock, and cover with a clean dish towel and a plate for three weeks, or until bubbling stops. Open spigot to let flow, (which, brilliantly, will not draw sediment on bottom of crock), and fill carefully cleaned bottles. Leave bottles on the counter for a few days, covered from light, so they can be burped a few times. When burping is over, box up and carry downstairs. Leave in cellar until December 21. Share with people you love.

Questions? 8 cups of sugar? It does sound like a lot. I cut back the first time, and even tried to cut the sugar with honey. Dumb, dumb, dumb. The sugar feeds the yeast and makes the alcohol. Q. Dandelions out of the freezer the way they are? Yep. If this winemaking can’t be done practically, it isn’t happening. Q. A gallon plus two quarts of water? Yes. I want to bottle about a gallon of liquid. I will loose a lot to evaporation and dregs. Clarity matters, and I will not be trying to get the last drop out of any stage. I bet I will loose at least two quarts of water, so that’s what I am adding to my gallon. Q. How about the insides of the citrus fruits? Clarity matters. Use the leftover fruit another way.

I intend to start boiling dandelions once they stop blooming. Meanwhile, I am collecting them in three freezers. Stay tuned.

Dandelions on a cookie sheet
Dandelions in the freezer

Barbie Burr

Barbie Darwin Burr was born in La Jolla, California into a Navy family. Moving every year made gardening difficult, but not impossible for her father, a disciple of Scott and Helen Nearing and a man with a vast ability to imagine and create.

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