We have been inundated by dandelions – LOTS OF DANDELIONS! They are everywhere! Along the driveway…
…in the garden, in the yard – hundreds (maybe thousands?) of dandelions.
What do yo do when you’re overrun with dandelions? Eat them (and make some wine)!
The boys and I got picking and we gathered a large bowl full of dandelion flowers for wine and cookies, plus some greens for a decoction. I grabbed some roots, too, but then I read that you’re supposed to harvest those in fall, so my dried and roasted dandelion root coffee substitute is on hold.
The recipes I used called for the petals only, so we sat down to a long session of “second picking”.
The cookies called for 1/2 cup of petals, the rest went into the gallon crock for wine. This crock belonged to my mother and her mother before her.
My wine recipe was from the book Dandelion Medicine by Brigitte Mars. It’s really interesting book and I look forward to trying out more of the recipes. There are a great variety for both medicinal and culinary use. This humble “weed” is a veritable pharmacy in and of itself.
From Dandelion Medicine:
Homemade Dandelion Wine Recipe
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.
3 quarts dandelion blossoms
1 gallon water
2 oranges, with peel, preferably organic
1 lemon, with peel, preferably organic
3 pounds sugar
1 ounce fresh yeast (I believe the author meant fresh cake yeast, like that used for bread making. I typically use wine yeast.)
1 pound raisins, preferably organic
1) Collect the blossoms when they are fully open on a sunny day. Remove any green parts; they will impair fermentation.
2) Bring the water to a boil and pour it over the flowers in a large pot. Cover and let steep for three days.
3) Prepare the oranges and the lemon. I used organic oranges and lemon, zested about half the skin off and cut the rest off in very thin strips to minimize the amount of white pith I added to the brew. (I love, love, love my Microplane grater for zesting.) I peeled the citrus completely and sliced them into thin rounds. (My mom just sliced them in rounds without peeling when she made the wine.)
4) 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 (I used one pound Florida Crystals and two pounds white sugar), stirring until it is dissolved. Allow to cool.
5) 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.)
6) When the mixture has stopped bubbling (2 days to a week), fermentation is complete. Strain the liquid through several layers of cheesecloth (I think my jelly bags would work well for this, too) 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. (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, like my sister Mary when she stashed them in the closet at the trailer house when she was first married. Apparently it sounded like there were bombs going off or they were being shot at.)
I’m working on getting a video (with sound) of this fermenting. It sounds like a really big bowl of Rice Krispies. I’ll update later on the status of the “medicinal brew”.
For the cookies, I used a recipe from my friend Hannah at Preparing for Our Children’s Future.
Dandelion Flower Cookie Recipe
1⁄2 cup coconut oil
1⁄2 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached, unbromated flour
1 cup dry oatmeal
1⁄2 cup dandelion flower petals
1) Preheat the oven to 375.
2) Mix the oil and honey and then beat in the 2 eggs and vanilla.
3) Remove the yellow flower parts from the green parts (compost the green parts).
4) Stir in the flour, oatmeal, and dandelion flowers.
5) Drop the batter by tablespoonfuls onto an oiled cookie sheet.
6) Bake for 10-15 minutes.
7) Cool and enjoy!
I chopped some dandelion greens and made a decoction by pouring boiling water over them and letting them steep overnight.
In the morning I strained out the chunks and heated it up with a little honey to make it more palatable. (I can deal with sour much easier than bitter.) I have to say that I prefer my kombucha and coconut milk tonic much better.
Here’s a link to Dandelion Medicine on Amazon.com. The used price is pretty reasonable.