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Dandelions (definitely OT)

Posted by Newbie Dana

It was a bad year this year for dandelions. Usually, right around April 15 I am so eager for tax season to be over, because the sassy little flowers are EVERYWHERE, winking at me and fluttering in the light breeze saying, "Pick me! You know you want to! Just think what wonderful wine I will make for you!"

But not this year. Sadly, it was the sparsest crop I have ever seen. I spent HOURS trying to pick enough flowers (you need a bit more than a gallon of flowers to make 3 quarts of petals for one batch of wiine), and still came up a little short. I picked violets to supplement the batch, but I just don't know how it's going to come out. Unfortunately, it takes a year for any batch to properly age, so I really won't be able to tell how it will come out until this time next year.

On the plus side, last year's batches (I made 2) came out extraordinarily well! I made one with all dandelions - the traditional recipe, and I made the second batch with the addition of a pint of wild violets growing in the yard. I had a recipe for violet wine (and also violet syrup which I have never done yet), but it called for a gallon of violet flowers to start with. After picking one pint, I gave up trying to collect so many! Oh, my aching back! The tiny little violets are numerous, but it takes SO much effort to pick enough! So I had the brilliant idea of combining my recipes and making dandelion/violet wine. The worst that could happen would be an undrinkable batch to pour down the sink. Instead, it turned out to be the sweetest and mellowest batch we have yet made! That's why I thought the addition of some violets to this year's batch might help make up for the shortfall of dandelions.

Hopefully, next year will be better and the dandelions will reappear with the utter abandon that makes a yard-full so pretty! My neighbors think I'm absolutely out of my mind - I went around this year picking all the dandelion puff-balls I could find and waving them around scattering seeds all over the yard. I am a responsible farmer - just planting my crop for next year.

Ever hopeful for the future ...

See all blogs by Newbie Dana
Bill : Hello Newbie Dana. Thanks for your post as it took me back many years when I too used to make dandelion wine and enjoy picking the flowers. Personally, I feel the dandelion is grossly underrated as a flower in its own right as it compares favourably with others of a similar type and does not need a lot of artificial care and attention to survive and flourish.
Let me recount a story about wine making that always comes to mind.
I used to make my wine in those 5 gallon plastic bags that came out of milk vending machines as they were ideal for my purposes. I made about 10 gallons of elderberry wine one year and put too many berries in the mix, which resulted in it being too strong as flavour to drink. Never one to throw wine away, I put it in the freezer and drained off the pure alcohol (which doesn't freeze like the water content) then bottled what was left, put it in the loft and forgot about it for 20 years. My brother came over from New Zealand and insisted on giving it a try. He said it tasted like a lovely liqueur with its own distinct flavour. He was right! It was one of the best batches of alcohol I ever made. It' a pity that it need 20 years to mature but that's the way things are sometimes.
I hope your dandelion and violet turns out to be a winner.
Best wishes