Last spring, Mr. Medlin asked me to go pick flowers with him. He wanted to pick dandelions. I looked at him funny.
“Why do you want to pick weeds?” I asked with my trademark furrowed brow.
“We are going to make dandelion wine,” he replied with his trademark crooked smile. I can’t resist that smile. So we packed up a couple tea pitchers and recruited the best posy picker in Union County… our toddler. And here’s how we made dandelion wine:
Pick two quarts of dandelion blossoms. Only collect the heads of the blooms. Smile, and soak up the spring sunshine while you wax nostalgic and recall childhood memories of yellow stained fingertips and flower crowns.
Place dandelions in a tea pitcher. Bring one gallon of water to a boil. Pour over the blossoms and allow to steep for three days. This will make a potent dandelion tea. Side note: If you ever need a good detox or immunity booster, dandelion tea is a natural (and inexpensive) alternative to medicines. Simply pick some dandelion leaves (I like a few flowers, also), allow them to dry, pour over eight ounces of hot water to steep, and add a teaspoon of local honey.
Using cheesecloth, or a clean pair of unwanted pantyhose, strain the dandelion tea into a fresh pitcher. Measure out nine cups of sugar and stir into the tea. Lastly, add the juice of four oranges and three lemons. It’s always important to extract citrus juice from the fruit instead of purchasing it.
Dissolve one packet of champagne yeast in one cup of lukewarm water. Do not use hot water or you will kill the yeast. After it has dissolved, pour it into your dandelion mixture and stir. You will feel a drag from the sugar at the bottom. Continue to stir until everything is dissolved and mixed together.
Pour the wine mixture into a glass gallon jug. Cap with an air lock or balloon. Place the jug in a dark place for at least six weeks. The longer the wine sits, the clearer it will become. You can also strain it once more. Serve chilled.
After six weeks, we sampled our concoction. It tasted green. I didn’t like it. With just the tiniest of sips, the “wine” also had quite the warming sensation as it slipped down my throat, settling into my stomach. It was then that I realized we had not made wine, but rather some dandelion liqueur.
A year later, the wine properly aged, it still sits in our top cabinet. The liquid has come to resemble clear sunshine. It really is beautiful. We’re just too terrified to touch it. Maybe it’ll chill out in a couple more years?? Maybe I could use it as a cleaning agent. Don’t they use stuff like that to sanitize wounds before amputations in the old westerns? I’m pretty sure it could kill alllllll the germs. Cough medicine! That’s what it shall be!! Cheers!