1.109 lbs. golden raisins, .822 lbs. dandelion petals, 2 lbs. light Belgian candy sugar, 1 teaspoon pectic enzyme, 1 tablespoon acid blend 1 ½ cups California Farms orange juice, 1 Campden tablet, Red Star Cote des Blancs yeast
This was a recipe we adapted from the book Making Wild Wines & Meads: 125 Unusual Recipes Using Herbs, Fruits, Flowers & More. We used golden raisins from Whole Foods bulk dried fruits section. The dandelions were picked in the morning around 8-9AM on a Sunday in early May (the peak of our dandelion season) at a community park that doesn’t use any pesticides. We picked all of the petals from the dandelions and discarded the greens (which took a lot of effort). The petals were frozen until we could complete this brew. When we were ready to brew we weighed the frozen petals and then thawed and rinsed the petals before brewing.
We deviated a bit by putting the pectic enzyme in with the Campden tablet instead of putting it in later at the start of fermentation with the thought that adding it earlier would give it more time to get a better yield out of the dandelion petals.
A note on pectic enzyme by Wine Maker Magazine:
If you want to add pectic enzyme for better juice yield and fruit character, add it during the crush or during pressing. To prevent pectin haze before it occurs, particularly for fruit wines, add pectic enzyme at the beginning of fermentation according to the manufacturer’s instructions. By adding the enzyme from the start, the enzyme will have more time to break down the pectin as the juice ferments, leaving less pectin to linger afterward and cause haziness. Ideally this first addition will save you time trying to clear the wine after fermentation is finished.
After 24 hours, the recipe called for making a starter with the orange juice, yeast nutrient, and yeast, but I had unknowingly run out of yeast nutrient. I decided to make the starter with my stir plate using the orange juice and a tablespoon of Sugar in the Raw. I was concerned the orange juice would be too acidic for the yeast, but the yeast produce a healthy colony overnight. In the morning I combined the sterilized dandelion must (now sitting for around 36 hours) and the yeast starter and air-locked it for primary fermentation. The must had a sweet pleasant aroma.
We transferred the wine to a secondary after five months, however we got a lot of the yeast cake because the dandelion petals consumed most of the headspace. We used a strainer to separate out the plant matter and then transferred the wine into a 1 gallon glass fermenter.