Pick flowers midmorning to early afternoon, when the dew has dissipated, but they are still open like a lion’s mane. You may substitute any edible flower. Use half the volume of blossoms if you choose something fragrant, like linden or elderflowers.
• 6 quarts dandelion flowers, stalks removed
• 2 gallons boiling water
• 2 oranges
• 1 lemon
• 4 pounds sugar
• 1 packet wine yeast
1. Pick flowers from an area free of pesticides. Put them into a crock with the boiling water. Let sit overnight. Strain. Juice the oranges and lemons and set aside. Put the rinds and dandelion infusion into pot. Simmer, covered, for 25 minutes. Strain juice into crock. Proceed with steps 2 through 8 from Basic Worty Wine.
2. I recently took a sip of seductively aromatic homemade wine, only to discover that it had turned to vinegar. Some vintners would have despaired over the loss, but I take a more sanguine approach. Many decades ago, poet Gwendolyn Brooks wrote, “When handed a lemon, make lemonade.” I say, “When your wine turns to vinegar, make switchel or shrub.”
3. Switchel and shrub were popular vinegar-based soft drinks in the days before soda fountains and canned pop. If you don’t manage to produce vinegar accidentally, you can do it on purpose by covering your wine at any point after Step 4 with cheesecloth instead of a lid or cork. Wait a few weeks or months and — voila!
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How to Make Herbal Wine.