Monday, 24 November 2008

Dandelion Wine - Herbs and Wine a Combination for Health

Dandelion Wine - Herbs and Wine a Combination for HealthI am a great fan of making wine at home and my passion for herbs rides just as high. Wine and herbs just seem to go together, a natural partnership that also sounds good. The health benefits from both wine and herbs are proven beyond all doubt, so why, away from food recipes are there not more combinations of them to produce a healthy herb wine? Well I can address that now with this dandelion wine recipe, although essentially it is an orange, banana and dandelion wine.

There are many recipes that give for wines, however, herbs wine recipes are rare. The reason being that herbs alone cannot make wine, they are mainly used, if at all, for bouquet. In order for the fermentation to take place, you need other ingredients to perform this act, usually sugar based fruits, mostly with natural compounds that create a healthy fermentation, i.e. grapes, pears, apples, plums etc. Other fruits and vegetables that lack natural yeast may need the addition of cultured yeast.

Dandelion Wine - Herbs and Wine a Combination for HealthThis recipe is a favourite of mine; I used to make when living in Yorkshire in the later spring when the dandelions are at there best. The dandelions have to be picked on a warm sunny day at around midday when they are fully open and the dew have evaporated; this is when the dandelions’ flavour is at its peak.

It is very easy to make although unless you can get dried dandelions, you will have to wait until spring to start it.

You will need:

4 pints fresh dandelion flowers (yellow petal only)
3 lbs granulated sugar
Two slightly over ripe bananas
4 oranges
1-gallon water
Wine yeast and nutrient

Method:

Dandelion Wine - Herbs and Wine a Combination for HealthBoil the 1 gallon of water and pour the over the flowers that should be in a plastic bucket. Make sure you pour directly onto the flowers to cool the water slightly before touching the plastic. Cover with cloth and leave to steep for two days. Pour the mixture back into a cooking pot or pan and bring to a boil.

Add the orange peelings from the four oranges without the white pith and continue boiling for a further ten minutes.

Strain through a clean cloth into a plastic bucket with the sugar and stir to dissolve.

Add the juice of the oranges when cooled then the yeast.

Dandelion Wine - Herbs and Wine a Combination for HealthPour the juice into a gallon demijohn and fit a fermentation lock. Keep in a warm place, e.g. airing cupboard and allow to ferment out completely.

Rack the wine, which means siphon off the wine leaving the sediment behind into another container. Clean out the demijohn and transfer the wine back in topping up with cooled boiled water. Store in a cool place and the wine will soon clear. Rack again and either store in bottles or the demijohn, topping up as before if needed.

You will now need a further six months to a year before it will be ready for drinking. It is a light wine full of flavour and the bananas give it the body unlike many other herb-based wines that don’t have this characteristic.
Dandelion Wine - Herbs and Wine a Combination for HealthNOTE:
You can substitute other herbs in this recipe, or even a mixture of your favourite herbs; sage, mint, parsley and rosemary go well individually or as combinations.

One thing is for sure, you can't buy this in a supermarket and even if you could, your homemade version would be much, much better. You would also know that it is free of chemicals and preservatives and the nominal cost of producing it is an added bonus.




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