My husband Michael is Italian descent. His family is from the medieval hill towns of Assisi and the sunny coasts of Sicily.
Italian’s are artisans who love to create and make things. Michael loves to make wine and beer. In my basement we have a delicious red wine that we call the “2 Noisy Kids Red Wine” vintage 2010 and a keg of beer that is made like Anchor Steam Beer.
In our household Michael is the brewmaster and wine maker.
Today the weather was great so I thought a fun activity with the kids was to try our hand making Dandelion wine Italian style. Michael has made dandelion wine in the past and the result has been a sweet and delicious herbal liquor. I am new to Dandelion wine making.
Our kids love gathering the yellow flowers! When our neighbors first saw us “harvesting” the dandelions, a plant most considered a nuisance, they thought it was strange. Today they know it is Dandelion wine making time!
When you pick the dandelions make sure that they come from a source that has not used pesticides (organic).
Traditionally the wine is made during the summer at the end of May to early June. It is then bottled and ready in December.
When I asked Michael for a recipe he said there really was not one recipe that his family has used. He said that in Italy you just put a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Apparently the not so accurate measurements is what adds to the fun, mystery and deliciousness of the wine.
Michael gave me these rough instructions. They are very open to interpretation! He said to:
1. Pick as many dandelion flowers as you can get. (We got about 5 cups)
2. Clean them
3. Add a couple of cups of sugar with the dandelions in a big pot. Add a cup of raisins for good measure.
4. Let it boil and then cook for about 25-30 minutes until they shrivel up.
5. Put the mixture through a strainer twice.
6. Discard the dandelions and the raisin chunks.
7. Put the strained liquid in an open container for 1 week with a cheese cloth cover. The natural yeast in the environment should react with the mixture and fermentation will start. You know it is fermenting when you see a bubbling of the mixture. (Some people add a teaspoon of regular yeast to activate fermentation even more).
8. After a week put the dandelion liquid mixture in bottles. Wait 5-6 months and then drink it!
Here is a picture of our dandelion wine. I’ll give you an update of flavor by December!
Buon Appetito! Sarap ng buhay!