Fields and roadside margins are bursting with tiny suns in spring – dandelion flowers. If you take a close look, you’ll see that they are exceptionally beautiful – a flower arranger’s dream – if only they weren’t deemed weeds. Alas, they are usually overlooked, particularly as an ingredient in wine-making. But it’s worth having a go at creating this amber nectar. First, gather a carrier bag full of heads, but avoid the stalks – you just want the petals.
Put them in a fermenting vessel with 450g of chopped sultanas, 250ml of freshly brewed tea, 700g sugar and 5ml citric acid. Pour on 7l of boiling water. Stir to dissolve the sugar, leave to cool to about 18-20°C then add a sachet of wine yeast. Grate the rind of two oranges into the mix, and their juice (strain this before adding). Stir, cover with a tight lid and leave for 9-10 days.
Strain out the solids through fine muslin, return the liquid to the bucket and leave for a further 5-6 days. After this, siphon into a 5-litre demijon, leaving as much of the deposit behind as possible. If it is not full, top up with cooled, boiled water. Fit an airlock and leave in a warm place to ferment. Once the air has stopped bubbling through the airlock, it’s ready to bottle. Leave for six months before tasting!
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