Dandelions-Taraxacum afficinale-are one of the more ubiquitous plants around.At least from the Artic to the tip of South America.It is everywhere…meadows,yards,roadsides to name a few.The plant has a deep tap root and spreads by a parachute to new locations.Dandelions are fragrant,the milky juice of the roots have medicinal powers, and the attractive flowers are used to make wine!
That is where my symbol comes to life.To make a long story short,growing up my parents had a small town grocery store-an IGA among other banners in our storied life.We owned 3/4 of a block with a huge yard.Yup you guessed it- alot of dandelions!At the same time Dad made wine and had a mail order business for wine and beer supplies.I also had at home two brothers and a sister-all within 11 years apart.It was probably a Sunday afternoon-closed at noon-that Dad thought it would be a good idea for his kids to pick dandelions.That we did.I am not sure of the quanity now but enough to get wine brewing.
It must of stuck in my subconscious mind this very act of being on my hands and knees picking weeds for my Dad to make wine.I am drinking wine now as I write this-too bad it is not dandelion wine!As we got older Dad let us sample the product of our labors all under the watchfull eye of our Mother.I believe it was probably a little sweet but the older it got the better it it tasted!
In the spirit of my Dad I would like to publish his recipe from his catalog-ca 1973:
Ingredients: 15 qts of flowers
5 gal water
1 oz citric acid
4 lbs raisins
1 pkt yeast
12 lbs sugar
“Gather flowers on a sunny day(I love this ).While still fresh make the wine.Leave as little stalk as possible on the flowers and place them in a crock and pour boiling water on them.Allow flowers to steep for 2-3 days.
Place liquid and dandelion flowers into boiler(not sure what he meant here).Add sugar and rinds of lemons and oranges from which juice has been extracted.Do not include white pith.Boil for one hour.Return to crock and add juice of lemons and oranges.Cool-70 degrees.Add yeast and yeast nutrient.Keep crock covered for 3 days in a warm place and strain into fermentation vessel.Add raisins.Ferment under fermentation locks.When fermentation ceases,strain liquid into bottles and cork and age”In his recipe I am not sure about the lemon and oranges-may have to wing it.
Anyway there it is-weeds it is what for dinner!