The common dandelion that decorates lawns throughout the growing season can be made into a delicious beverage that tastes like sherry and is considered more like a cordial than a wine. Possibly of Celtic origin, dandelion wine was popular in the 1800s and 1900s as a aid to good kidney and digestive system function but today it is appreciated as a delicious drink. My paternal grandmother, Helen S. Wright, included a recipe for dandelion wine in her book, Old Time Recipes for Home Made Wine. Unlike modern recipes, her directions do not include a warning about pesticides and pet waste, and do not specify that only the petals of the dandelion flowers should be used.
Here is the recipe for dandelion wine in the words of my grandmother:
Four quarts of dandelions. Cover with four quarts of boiling water; let stand three days. Add peel of three oranges and one lemon. Boil fifteen minutes; drain and add juice of oranges and lemon to four pounds of sugar and one cup of yeast. Keep in warm room and strain again; let stand for three weeks. It is then ready to bottle and serve.
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