A little more about Dandelion Wine

I discovered a really easy way to get the green off the dandelions.  I can do a gallon of flowers in about an hour.  Pick the flowers in the late morning when the dew has dried and lay them on a piece of newspaper for a few minutes.  All the little bugs will get up and leave.  I like to do this outside on my picnic table.  Get a pairing knife and lay the flowers on the news paper blossom side up  and cut through the center of each blossom.  You can cut the whole batch at one time.  Then take one half of the blossom and hold the green part between your thumb and index finger on one hand with the cut side against the thumb..  Take your other thumb nail and scrape out the blossom.  If you start with the ones that you cut first they are a little dry and the peddles nearly fall out.  Save the green part and boil them in a little water, drain and add a little butter.  They taste like artichoke hearts.  You could add them to soup or rice too.  It takes two gallons of flowers to equal one gallons of peddles. 
The wine won’t be sweet because the yeast will use up the sugar.  The higher the sugar content when you begin the higher the alcohol content will be when it is finished.  If you want sweet wine you need to add sugar when the fermenting is completed.  This wine has an alcohol content of about 12%.  You can use bread yeast for the wine, but it doesn’t clear like wine yeast.  You will have a sediment in the bottle that will make the wine cloudy. 
Here is a recipe without the raisins.  You could spice it with a cinnamon stick and a couple of cloves too.  Tie the spices in a sack and hang it in the water.  Bring the water to a boil and then remove the spice bag after about ten minutes.  If you don’t have an air lock just put a balloon over the top of the jug.  When the balloon is flat it is ready to bottle.  I don’t wash the flowers.  The heat of the fermentation process will kill any germs and when you  strain it through a cheese cloth or tea towel you will catch anything that doesn’t belong in the wine.  Wetting the flowers make it more difficult to separate the peddles from the stem.

(Recipe is broken up into two parts: a small recipe and a larger one in parentheses)

6 quarts (8 gallons) flower heads
3 quarts (4 gallons) water
1 (5) orange quartered
1/2 (2) lemon quartered
1¼ tsp (2 Pkgs) dry yeast
a small amount of crushed ginger root [optional]
2-2/3 C. (7 lbs.) sugar

Collect flower heads on a bright sunny day. Spread newspapers outside and empty flowers onto them giving the insects a chance to crawl away. Wash the flowers and place them in a crock. Pour the boiling water over them; cover and wait for 24 hours. Strain into a large enamel canning pot; add oranges, lemons and ginger root. Boil for 30 minutes; strain; add the sugar and dissolve. Pour into the cleaned crock. When cooled to lukewarm, stir in the yeast which has been dissolved in 2 Tbsp of the liquid. Cover with a clean towel or several layers of cheesecloth and wait till it stops ‘working’ or ‘bubbling’ – about 10 days depending on temps. Do NOT become discouraged – the process is not attractive. When stopped, siphon into gallon jugs; cork loosely (or place balloon over top) and wait one month before decantering the wine into bottles. Will be excellent by Thanksgiving.