"Oh, you here too?"
Dandelion. The name alone is extremely melodious, in all languages: Dandelion - Löwenzahn - Pissenlit - Diente de león - Mælkebøtte - ... The fact that you can also easily make your own dandelion champagne from the blossoms is the crown on the head of this powerful flower. Some say that this great plant is a weed, because it spreads so effortlessly. I say never!, and celebrate it at every corner where it beams at me.
Dandelion sparkling wine is a delicious spring drink to celebrate the end of winter
In late spring, everything is full of the beautiful, large, yellow flowers. They taste sweet and pleasantly of nectar and honey. You can not buy them, you have to pick them yourself. This is best done away from busy roads and not necessarily in the dog park. If you have a garden, you probably don't need to do much, except for waiting. For me it took about three years until the first dandelions appeared, and now I already have a whole plantation.
When picking wild flowers or herbs, a few rules apply.
- Respect nature.
- Take only as much as you need.
- Always leave a few plants so they can reproduce.
- Animals also like dandelions, do not steal their feed in excess.
- Nature reserves are of course off limits.
- For collecting a basket is suitable, there the plants are not crushed.
Once you've collected the blossoms, you can set about making your own dandelion champagne.
- 1,5 l water
- 15 gr. dandelion flower petals
- a good 40 gr. raw honey
- 1 lemon in slices
- large pot with lid
- 3 pcs 0,5 liter swing top bottles
For 15 gr. petals, that is only the yellow parts of the blossom, you need to collect about 32 dandelion flowers. Honey is best bought from your local beekeeper or at the market. And the lemon serves as an aid against molds in the fermentation process.
This recipe makes 1.5 quarts of dandelion sparkling wine and yes, I call this drink sparkling wine and that means it is alcoholic.
"You don't believe me? I can prove it to you!"
Through the natural yeasts on the flowers we have a very powerful feed for the alcoholic fermentation, in which the yeasts die and carbonic acid is released. Also honey can be fermented into alcohol perfectly, the most famous result is certainly the honey wine mead. The combination of wild yeasts and honey in this drink produces an estimated 6-7% alcohol. Dandelion sparkling wine tastes deliciously tart and not as sweet as my other alcohol ferment from honey, the scrumptious coffee liqueur Katsulua.
"I made something there."
Remove all the green from the dandelion petals. This is a bit time-consuming, but you will be rewarded with a very fine sweetness without a bitter aftertaste. Cut the lemon into slices.
Put water, dandelion flowers, honey and lemon slices in a large pot, stir well and place in a warm place, for example in the kitchen next to the stove. Do not forget to put the lid on, critters should not feast on the dandelion drink. Stir from time to time as you pass, this activates the yeasts.
After about 24 hours you can already enjoy the drink. At that point, no alcohol will have been produced yet, so that even children can try it. It is not a dandelion lemonade, because no significant carbonic acid will have developed yet, but rather a dandelion tonic. It tastes best well chilled!
Let the mixture stand for a maximum of 2 days, it should then be slightly effervescent. If this is not the case, please do not let it stand longer. If the first fermentation is too long, the drink will have a musty aftertaste. Filter with a fine sieve and pour into the bottles. The filling level should be at the base of the neck of the bottles so that there is enough space for the carbon dioxide to develop. It is important that you use sturdy quality swing-top bottles that can withstand the pressure created during fermentation.
Leave the filled bottles in the kitchen. To be on the safe side, I like to spread a kitchen towel over them - even if a bottle gives way to the pressure, I don't have shrapnels in the house.
After one day, there is already plenty of carbonation, but not any real alcohol, so the drink is now a dandelion soda. It is still quite sweet. Burp each bottle once, which means opening it slightly and releasing the pressure. Then store the bottles in a cool place, preferably away from light. I have a dedicated ferment refrigerator for this. If I didn't have that, I would put the bottles in the basement. Here, too, explosions can be made less dangerous by placing a cloth or cardboard box over the bottles.
While the sugar from the honey and flowers is slowly metabolized, the alcohol content increases during fermentation. Unopened, the sparkling wine can be kept for at least a year if stored in a cool place and protected from light. We like to drink it on New Year's Eve, and the rest to welcome the new spring, so about a year later. Then at the same time we think of making new sparkling wine again.
How does dandelion champagne taste?
What can I say? Tastes like sparkling wine. With a hint of dandelion honey flavor. Really cool!
„That’s all, folks. So switch off, bye."Peter Lustig, Löwenzahn
All "quotes" on this page are from Peter Lustig from the ZDF tv broadcast Löwenzahn.
By the way, if you're unsure about anything with my recipe, please do ask me about it! This helps not only you, but also others, because I can explain it better and add it to the recipe. Please use the comment field at the bottom of the page.