well actually mead. i vowed never to make dandelion mead after the first time i made it. it’s a total pain to make, and is it really worth it? after opening the last bottle from a batch made about 3 years ago i can say yes. though not necessarily because of the taste, which is fine, but mostly for the ritual, and my connection to the bees.
dandelions are the first major nectar crop for the bees, and so i love to see them – little golden disks of bee food, making the ladies happy as can bee. so i take great joy in seeing dandelions even if most folks curse them. and what could be a better tribute to them and spring than being able to open a bottle of libation made from honey they made and infused with flower petals collected from the source of their honey? i enjoy these little rituals that connect me more fully to the seasons and all the activity going on.
for dandelion wine or mead you need 3 cups of freshly harvested dandelion flower petals. that’s right just the petals not the stem or the little green part that the petal attach to – just the yellow petals. when i first read the recipe i had from a wine making book, i didn’t notice that it said petals , only that it called for 3 cups of flowers. reading more closely i realised you needed to remove each and every petal from the stem. what a bunch of work. but i complied.
i’d guess that to get the three cups of petals takes about an hour of picking. that’s for one gallon. 5 bottles of mead. only you can decide if it’s worth it, but sitting out in the sunshine, out in the spring weather on a day off, certainly seemed worth it to me. to make the situation a little more enjoyable ma and i cracked the last of the bottle of dandelion mead from 3 years ago. i thought we were all out but closer inspection revealed one more tucked away.
with all the petals now removed, i can safely stuff them in a sanitized one gallon jug and then rack some straight unflavored mead over the petals. for those not in the know, racking is the brewing term for siphoning. one of theses days i’m going to do an entire step by step mead making post, but for now you will just have to piece it together like everyone else.
once you rack the mead over the petals you need to slap an airlock on it. the airlock makes it so that air can escape from the fermenting jug, but won’t let new air in. be aware that most mead makers would likely pour boiling water over the petals to sanitize them before adding them to the jug. putting those petals into the mead without doing so risks adding bacteria or wild yeast. i say so what, lets see what happens maybe it will be great, maybe it will be lousy, but it’s only one gallon i’ll be losing if it doesn’t work. pouring boiling water over them would get rid of many of the delicate flavors we so want to capture.
in addition to this i added a cut up sour orange from one of our trees we have growing inside. i had read that dandelion wines usually have some lemon juice added to them for balance, so i figure the juice from the orange will help in the balance department and the rind will add some orange floral flavor. i think it’s gonna be great.
how long you leave the petals on the mead is up to you, but i’m planning on about a month.