Sunday, April 22, 2012

Taking advantage of the one crop I can grow

Over at That Honey Do List I've been following a battle for a greener more lush lawn.  That's a noble cause that I'm sure many, many people fight each and every year.  I've decided to take a different tact.  As loyal readers know I've employed my children as dandelion harvesters with the ultimate goal of turning the weeds in my lawn into wine.  We could debate whether or not compliments from the neighbors about the lushness of your front yard are better than a glass of wine, but that's not what I'm here for. 

If you're like me and didn't fight the battle of greener pastures, here's the recipe I'm using to turn my ugly lawn into something alcoholic.  This makes about 1 gallon (4 bottles) of a dry-ish white-like wine.

Dandelion Rain 2012

Pick about a 1 gallon ziploc bag full of dandelion flowerheads-- You don't want the stems, just the flowers.  Add these to a fermenting vessel of some sort- I've been known to use a whatever glass sun tea pitcher I can find.  As an aside here there are 2 requirements for this vessel-- 1. It must be glass.  2.  It should have a lid that closes tightly.

Pour just shy of a gallon of boiling water over the flowers, screw on the lid and walk away for a few days.

A few days later bring the flowers and water mixture to a boil.  Add the zest of 2 lemons and 2 oranges and 3 pounds of sugar (give or take).  Boil 15-30 minutes or as long as you can stand the smell.  It's pretty disgusting. I do NOT recommend doing this with a pregnant wife around. You've been warned. 

After the boil, transfer to a cleaned, sanitized fermenting vessel. Add the juice of the oranges and lemons.  Cool to 75 degrees and pitch yeast.  I usually use champagne yeast but am trying something different this year.  Don't remember what I ordered though, so I'll have to fill you in later.

About a week later, strain and move to a cleaned, sanitized secondary fermenter and add a pound of golden raisins.  Leave this sit a few months and start the cycle of racking until completely clear.  I usually rack every 3-4 months and bottle after the 3rd cycle or so.  From picking flowers to drinking is usually about a year, so you're going to have to be patient.

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