My front yard is littered with pretty yellow dandelions right now. I love dandelions. I think they’re pretty, and I don’t have a problem with them at all. Other people see them as a suburban blight, ruining perfectly manicured (or as I see it, boring) front yards.
There’s no need to douse your lawn with weed killer, though. A more creative way to handle the dandelions if you’d rather not have them in the lawn is to turn them into wine. Spend some time in the fresh air picking them from the lawn (and perhaps stray into a few neighbors’ lawns to get as many as you need), and turn them into dandelion wine.
Dandelion wine is made from the flowers, not the leaves of the plant. But, don’t throw those leaves away. They’re perfectly edible and are a great addition to salads and can be even be turned into pesto.
Dandelion Wine – This is a great place to start, even if you end up choosing a different recipe. It explains the components you’ll need for making any dandelion wine and why those components are necessary.
Hobby Farms Dandelion Wine – Flavored with lemon, orange, cinnamon, cloves and ginger, this recipe calls for no special equipment. After fermenting for three to six months in a cool, dry place, it’s ready to serve.
Clover Honey Dandelion Wine – Most dandelion wine recipes call for a sweetener. This one uses clover honey in addition to both white and brown sugar as well as some citrus fruit for additional flavor. This recipe ages for a month before being bottled a second time. Then it’s fermented until at least the following winter solstice.
The Herb Gardener’s Dandelion Wine – Here’s another recipe that mixes honey and sugar, but this one has more honey than the last recipe. It ferments for three months, just in time to serve at a Labor Day celebration.
DIY Dandelion Wine – This recipe comes from Gourmet and comes with some advice about bottling to ensure safety. It uses brown sugar, oranges and lemons. Suggested fermentation time is one year.
If this is your first time attempting to make dandelion wine, or any wine, go into it with the attitude that you’re trying something that may or may not work. Half of the fun is in the experimenting. My friend Angela from Seasonal and Savory said that when she attempted to make dandelion wine, she ended up with dandelion turpentine instead. But, she was able to use it as a weed killer, an all-natural one, so her efforts were not in vain.
Have you ever made dandelion wine? Any pointers you can give us?
Also on MNN: 3 DIY wines you can try at home