I have to admit to a certain fondness for making something from nothing, so when a brewing forum advertised 'wine for free' I was instantly curious. Well, to be fair the wine isn't totally free especially when you take into account the rising cost of sugar, plus the time it took to pick all the dandelions, but you know, it's nearly there, so I thought I'd give it a go. Being a bit of a greedy whatsit, I doubled the ingredients, especially as our field is over run with dandelions at the moment. The weather seems to be perfect for them,as I've seen fields yellow with their flowers around here. I have no idea how this wine will turn out, but I love to experiment. I've made some divinely delcious wines and some gut-clenchingly awful ones, but that's half the fun :D
So here is my brewing bin filled with beautiful yellow, fragrant flowers. Nearly 7 pints worth!
3/4 pints of dandelion heads
1.2 kg sugar
1 gallon of water
5 grams wine yeast
Some of the dandelions I washed, but so much of the colour and pollen came out, that I worried I was losing flavour, so the rest I left.
1. Boil the water in a large pan and pour onto the flowers in the brewing bin.
2. Leave to steep for 48 hours, no longer.
3. Pour back into the pan and bring to the boil.
4. Add the zest of the 3 oranges.
5. Strain through muslin back into the fermenting bin, add the juice from the oranges and add the sugar.
6. When cool, add yeast and pour into the demijohn and add an airlock.
7. Ferment until the bubbles have finished.
8. Rack off until wine clears.
9. Pour into sterilised bottles and leave for around 6months or longer.
There are some very good on line suppliers of wine kit and ingredients but I've managed quite well with what I can pick up from Wilkinsons and Ebay. After the initial outlay, the cost is absorbed by the money you save overall. Plus, I think it's a fun hobby and takes me back to the days of watching The Good Life and their adventures in Home Brewing. Pea Pod Burgundy anyone? :D