A recipe for St. George’s Day. Enjoy.

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A special recipe from Daisy Banks.

I am uncertain if the brewing of home made wine is considered a hobby, but over the years I have found it a fun and thrifty activity. This wine is a medium sweet wine, lightly fragranced and very pleasant. Dandelion wine is one that would make a good accompaniment to a special family dinner in the Christmas holiday season. I thought you might like this recipe so you could give it a try.

Here is an ancient rhyme regarding the brewing of Dandelion wine.

Pick your dandelions on St. George’s Day
and your wine will be ready by Christmas day.

St. George’s Day is the 23rd of April, and in England by this date there has usually been enough sunshine to bring forth the yellow heads of dandelions. You will need quite a few dandelion blooms, and please follow usual advice when wild picking, stay away from places where plants are contaminated by traffic pollution and the use of pesticides.
Remember you will need to sterilize all equipment or you risk you wine going bad which would be a great pity.

This is what you need to make 1 gallon of Dandelion wine.

4 pints of Dandelion flowers
1 gallon of boiling water
1 orange
1 lemon
4oz of dates
3lb’s of sugar
1 heaped teaspoon of yeast nutrient

Yeast type
Sauternes.

Yeast starter mix. Make this 2 or 3 days before the date you will brew as it needs time to get busy.

6 fl oz of water
1 dessertspoon of malt extract
1 dessertspoon of sugar
A pinch of citric acid
A pinch of yeast nutrient
Pack of wine making yeast.

For your wine itself:
Pick your flowers on a sunny day, from a clean site, and pull off the green calyx from most of the flowers.
Store the flowers in a polythene fermenting bin or a big bucket with a lid. Pour on the boiling water and let the flowers soak for 4 days. Give them an occasional stir.
On day 5, strain off the liquid into a fresh container and throw the flowers away.
Slice the orange and lemon, chop the dates and add them to the strained liquid along with 1 lb of sugar, the yeast nutrient and the active working yeast mix you have prepared.
Cover the mix loosely with a cloth or mesh lid that makes sure you keep out insects, dust etc., but you do let in air.
Leave this container in a warm place for 7 days, stir daily.
On the 3rd day of the 7 add 1 lb of sugar.
On the 5th day of the 7 add 1 lb of sugar.
On the 7th day, strain the mix through a fine sieve such as muslin or fine weave net curtain, sterilized of course, into a 1 gallon jar and one extra bottle. Fill the jar up to the neck. Add water if you need to so the liquid reaches the neck, if the bottle depletes the measure.
Fit an air-lock to the 1 gallon jar or cover the top with a piece of polythene sealed by a rubber band. Do the same to the bottle.
Keep the jar and bottle in a warm place 16 – 18 degrees C, (this is the USA temp not the UK one – for UK readers the temp should be 60 – 65 degrees) for 2 to 3 months.
After 2 or 3 months rack the wine, this means siphon wine off the sediment into a clean jar, again fill up to the neck, use what is in the *bottle to top up, or cold tap water, if necessary. Refit an air-lock or polythene cover as before.
*bottle It is recommended you taste the bottle brew before adding it to the main jar, just in case it has gone off as it could spoil your entire batch.
After another 2 or 3 months rack again.
By Christmas or after approximately 8 months the wine should be ready to be drunk or bottled.
When the wine is clear and stable, all fermentation must have stopped, sediment should have settled and the liquid be a clear, pale yellow color. Sterilize 6 bottles and siphon wine into the bottles. If you want to keep the wine, seal with straight sided corks, label your brew and lay the bottles down on their sides. If you intend to use the wine in a few months, label and use flange sided corks, but leave bottles standing up.

You might think this seems like a huge amount of effort for a glass of delightful wine to share with friends and family, especially when bought wine is so reasonably priced. I’d say the recipe for this wine is like so many things passed on from people who made things this way all the time. The product is created with love, time and concern, and all those things should be reflected in its taste.

I know not everyone has the time to make their own wine but if you do and you try Dandelion wine I do hope you enjoy it.

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4 thoughts on “A recipe for St. George’s Day. Enjoy.

  1. I’ve never had dandelion wine but I’ve always been curious about it. It does seem like a lot of work, but I imagine the care and process is part of the fun. Happy St, George’s Day, Daisy! Cheers!

    • Thanks for commenting, Mae. Dandelion wine is pleasant. Even if it’s well fermented its OK to drink. Most home made stuff seems like a lot of effort but actually it’s quite fun.

  2. We also celebrate St George’s Day around here on 23rd April. All men and women called Gheorghe, Georgeta, Geta have festive parties with lots of drink, food and gifts.
    Interesting about wine made of Dandelion. Never imagined it has this use. Anyway it’s a long time to wait from April till December to have your wine ready, don’t you think so?
    Thank you for the recipe!

    • Thanks for commenting, Carmen. How interesting you have celebrations for those called George in whatever form. I think that’s lovely.
      There are celebrations here with marching bands and that’s quite fun.

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