Thursday, May 2, 2013

Dandelion Wine!!! Whoo HOO it's Spring! Uh...I mean Dandelion Jelly! Recipes!

Well hopefully ya'll can read this. I promise I will work on this design thing on this blog. First I forgot I had a blog then I felt a little like Dennis the Menace with a button that needs pushing. Wowwww!!!.... lookey, new design plates on Blogger!! Click! Oh...Crap!!  Have not a clue what I am doing but I will learn. Unfortunately anyone reading this will have to suffer until I figure it out! If your looking for the ditsy Appalachian historian who has are in the right place!

Now let's talk Dandelions!!! While most people are trying to kill dandelions in their yard, we don't! That's food and medicine.  Yes, John Boy there is more than one type of "recipe".

You can fry the blooms and eat them with eggs, you can eat the leaves like a salad, or you can pick the blooms, process them and make jelly and WINE!  I'm going to post my two favorite dandelion jelly and dandelion wine recipes at the end of this article.

I looked out the window a couple weeks ago and just saw a sea of huge yellow flowers in the yard. Just about covered the whole yard. Now dandelions grow but this "sea" usually happens when the cicada's are coming back. They come up out of the ground and I believe they aerate the yard or something making dandelions get big yellow blooms on them. I was inspired.

I hadn't made anything out of dandelions in YEARS!  One of the last times was when a girlfriend and I decided the dandelions on the municipal court lawn in Radford were the prettiest, largest blooms we had ever seen.  We grabbed a bucket, bent down on hands and knees and waved at all those going to court while anticipating our future dandelion wine. That's been some years ago! Now it's all the rage to kill dandelions and if any were to show up on that lawn today they would probably be poisonous. Be careful where you pick.

Now with my illness I have to do this in stages. Modern appliances help with this. Not unusual to hear at my house, "Mom, what's this bucket of Dandelions in the refrigerator?"  So I pick them one day and rinse them, process them the next and boil them, then cook the juice into what I want another day. If it were not for this in stage stuff, I'd never get anything made in my shape. But if you have the energy in an afternoon you can have jelly and wine in process.

My grand daughter helping me pick asked me, "Granny, what are you going to make with this?"  "Why I'm gonna make WI...uh...Jelly, little one." She's six so she was calling my jars of jelly Wi-jelly until I fessed up that we also have a small bit of wine brewing.
Blooms Boiling in a pot NO GREENERY!

Now the trick to dandelion jelly and wine is you ONLY USE THE BLOOMS! NO GREENERY! This is a pain in the butt to have to process but worth it because otherwise your jelly, wine whatever comes out a bit bitter. I like to gather just the blooms and rinse them under water. Kind of funny because sometimes the cold water hits them and they will just close up. I take scissors and cut off the base of the flower and then pick the green part from the petals. Put the petals in a measuring cup so I know when I can stop. LONG PROCESS. An ice cream bucket full yields enough for jelly or wine.

Greenery left after a bucket full of processing. Makes my fingers hurt!

The jelly reminds me of honey and you have to use a pectin to make it jell. The wine...just reminds me of warm days. I like to keep some back just for winter, makes you feel warm just thinking about making it.

Here are the two recipes I use:

Dandelion Jelly

Pick enough to process and get 1 quart of bright, fresh, dandelion blossoms. Rinse them quickly in cold water to remove any insects. Using scissors, snip off the stem and remove the green collar under each blossom.
In an enameled saucepan, boil the dandelion petals in 2 quarts of water for 3 minutes. Cool and Strain, pressing the petals with the fingers to extract all the juice. Measure out 3 cups of dandelion liquid. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 package of powdered fruit pectin (1 3/4 ounces).

Add 5 1/2 cups of sugar, stirring to mix well. Continue stirring and boil the mixture until jelly stage. A candy thermometer works well here unless you are like Granny Burress and can "smell" when it's jelly.
Pour into small glasses and cover with melted paraffin when the jelly is cool.

Dandelion Wine

1 quart processed dandelion blooms
1 gallon boiling water
1 package active dry yeast (.25 ounce)
8 cups of white sugar (I've used as little as 5 and it came out fine)
1 orange, sliced
1 lemon, sliced

Pick enough to make 1 quart of bright, fresh dandelion blossoms processed. Rinse quickly in cold water to remove any insects. Process using scissors, snip off the stem and remove the green collar under each blossom until you have 1 quart (4 cups).  Heat 1 gallon of boiling water. Place dandelion blossoms in the boiling water and let boil 4 minutes.  Strain, pressing the petals to extract the juice.  Let the juice cool to at least 90 degrees. I test it like testing baby's milk.

Stir in the yeast, sugar, orange and lemon slices. Pour into either plastic gallon jugs or a 3 gallon crock or you can get fancy and use a plastic fermentor with a lock. If using jugs put a balloon over the mouth of the jug. It will expand. For my crock I just use saran wrap loose or even a garbage bag tied tightly. In the old days they just used a crock with a wooden lid or a barrel with a cork. Just keep it in a cool area for a couple of weeks until the bubbles stop.   Siphon the wine off of the lees and strain through a cheese cloth before bottling. You can use quart sized canning jars with rings and lids, an old brown jug, or old wine bottles. Best to age the wine for at least a couple of weeks if you can't wait. I leave mine as long as I can. Always consult your state laws on winemaking. Click Here for Virginia Laws

Hope you can enjoy your dandelions. Have any questions contact me.

Yep it's fermenting!

Now I share my recipes freely. And I copyright my words. You try to make a living on it and a pox will be heard!