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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Dandelion Wine: Part II

The world feels very unusual to me the past few days.  Well, maybe it's been the past year or more, but honestly the past couple of days feel quite indescribable.  Maybe the "veil between worlds is very thin" sort of feeling that occurs sometimes? 

In this vein of thinking an old recipe flew out at me the other day.  It jumped out of an old cookbook I had buried away in the closet while I was looking for something else.  It just so happened to fly out of my Grandmother's cookbook.  It was written on a piece of paper so old it was brown and crinkly. It was written in pencil and signed by a friend of my grandmothers to her.  It just so happens the recipe was for Dandelion wine.

If you've followed along with this blog for awhile, you'll know I've tried Dandelion wine before.  I feel just a wee bit obsessed with this adventure I guess, because I had been considering the notion once again a day or so before the recipe made it's appearance. I was seeing a great bumper crop of dandelions and feeling just a bit "itchy to try again".  Last year, I thought I had a revelation about Dandelion Wine and a new way of being.  It sounded good at the time, but I've changed my mind. 

I wouldn't have thought my Grandmother would have been the Dandelion Wine making type. Perhaps I just didn't have her around for long enough to know this.  Maybe that's a wisdom you don't share with a less than 10 year old.  I feel a little disappointed to have missed the knowing, but then again, maybe that's why she flew the recipe in my face!  I do know the author of the recipe.  I would suspect her of making Dandelion Wine.  If I had eight children and lived to be over 100 as she did, perhaps I would attribute the success to the wine! 

I was still thinking about making the wine and not actually doing it, when this morning I got a great email from a friend with a long explanation of the healing benefits of dandelions, including this link and a beautiful picture of dandelions.  Okay, okay, I hear you!!!  I'm making the wine!!!

First I had to do a lot of math.  Crazy conversions from quarts, gallons, and pounds to cups.  I'm still not sure if I really have the right amount of yeast and my head hurts just a wee bit from trying to sort out all those figures, but here's what I went with:

8 cups of Dandelions tops
16 cups cold water
(boil these two together for 20 min., then strain)
Add 6 cups sugar and the juice of 2 lemons to the water minus the tops, and boil for another 20 minutes
Let the mixture cool and add 1 teaspoon of yeast.

Now the whole mixture is sitting in a place of honor on the kitchen counter.  Unlike the previous year when I bottled it right away and put it away in the dark to brew, this one stays front and center.  I am told, by my ancestors, that I am to let it stand for 4 weeks but skim it every day. After 4 weeks I am to bottle it. 

There are no fancy spices in this mix unlike the last one.  Well, my ancestors were pretty "plain jane" about things like that- so I guess that make sense.  It smelled very earthy while cooking- healthy for sure. I wonder if my Grandmother ever actually made the recipe or did it just sit idle in her book- perhaps on her "list of things to do" for years.  No one around to ask that question, so I'll just make up my own story.  I think I will decide she never did actually make it but was always meaning to "give it a go".  Makes me feel like I am completing a circle a bit and am making my Grandmother's Wine for her. 

Cheers Grandma M!

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