Archive for the ‘dandelion’ Tag

01-08-2015 Journal – Cold Weather & Colder Wine   Leave a comment

I love cold weather but this is getting ridiculous.  My better-half also likes the temperature in the house kept around 65 degrees but even she’s spending more time in the bedroom wrapped in that wonderful electric blanket of ours. We’ve been in the single digits for the last two days and below zero today with wind chills bordering on dangerous and even life threatening.

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I may look a little silly wandering around the house at the end of a fifty foot extension cord but I don’t really care. There are certain male body parts that demand warmth and I’m making sure they get it. So what if I have a heating pad stuffed down my sweat pants and who really cares about that stupid looking orange extension cord.  I have my priorities set and no one will convince me otherwise.

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Trying to stay busy and warm brought me to my next task.  I’ve had three gallons of dandelion wine sitting in the man-cave for almost six months.  After four months it was still a little too cloudy which required me to take emergency measures to clear it.  There’s a product called Sparkloid that is nothing more than very fine clay dust.  It’s mixed with water and brought to a boil for twenty minutes or so. Then each gallon jug receives a portion of that mix and is  left to settle for a few weeks. It worked like a charm because I now have three gallons of a crystal clear golden liquid the exact color of dandelion blossoms.

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After doing a little repair work to my wine racks I began the siphoning and bottling process.  My final tally was thirteen bottles of a beautiful wine that actually tastes a little like a Chardonnay but a bit sweeter.

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I boiled the corks in clean water and corked each bottle. I put a nice golden cap on each and they’re now reading for storage in the wine rack.  As you can see from the photos there are thirteen bottles and a small jar of wine.  That small jar I’ll be drinking with my dinner tonight.  I want it chilled until it’s close to freezing and then I’ll sip it slowly and savor the flavor.  I’ve made dandelion wine a number of times over the years but I think this might be my best batch ever.  It’s always a pain in the butt to make dandelion wine because it takes forever to pick and prepare the blossoms. They must be cleaned of all pieces of leaves and debris and then frozen for a week or so.  The freezing helps to breakdown the blossoms and convinces them to give up their beautiful color when they’re finally put in with the yeast.

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This coming summer will be an interesting time for me because I fully intend to go outside the box with my winemaking projects.  I want to make a few batches from ingredients that are not normally used for wine making but trying to do something never done before can be difficult.  I look forward to the challenge and hopefully the results will be a few bottles of a really unique wine.

B r r r r !!!

06-21-2014 Journal Entry – Little Old Winemaker!   Leave a comment

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“I really believe that the feet give the wine that little “special something”. LOL

I’ve been in heaven for the last few days.  We’ve been having San Diego style weather and that’s damn unusual for sure.  I’m pretty good at adapting to change so I’ll be just fine, really!  I’ve been tending the garden, completing a host of BS projects from my better-half’s To-Do List and generally feeling relaxed and at peace with things.

I took a ride without her today (she’s working) and decided to hit a few of the dozens of yard sales in the area.  You just never know what you might find and I do love surprises.  Unfortunately yard sales have been losing their charm for me of late and today was no different. Too many people watching too many TV shows that have convinced everyone that every piece of crap that would have been thrown away in the past is now a precious antique worth big bucks.  I visited three yard  sales in a short period of time and it was all I could do not to say something totally inappropriate like “Are you f…ing kidding me!”.  No purchases today for me and much less interest in visiting any more this summer.  It’s just ridiculous and really getting out of control.

I returned home and decided to take a few minutes to check the wine I’ve been making. I racked the red wine.  For those of you not familiar with home brewing terminology racking means siphoning off the clear wine after the yeast had settled to the bottom of the fermentation container.  This is done two or three times during the winemaking process until the batch is crystal clear.

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I think this may turn into a rather nice medium sweet red wine.  I haven’t used Concord grapes in the past and now I’m thinking I probably should have. The wine has a beautiful almost black color and it cleared itself of yeast very quickly.  I started out with four and a half gallons and lost a half in the siphoning process. I should be bottling approximately 18-20 bottles in a month or so.

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The Dandelion wine will continue to ferment for a while longer. I think it may end up being rather dry with a fairly high alcohol content.  I can’t wait to taste the final product because dandelion is one of my favorites.

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I need to get these two batches completed and in the bottle as soon as possible.  I suspect I’ll be doing two more batches of fruit and berry wine this fall and need to make a little room for them.  All in all it should be an excellent year for winemaking.

05-17-2014 Journal Entry-Dandelion Wine Day!   Leave a comment

My goal today is to give all of you a tip.  After you get to a certain age never, I repeat never, make dandelion wine. I know that sounds stupid but let me explain.  Over the years I’ve made dandelion wine a few times and it always tastes so incredibly good you might wonder why I’ve only made it a few times. The main reason is the amount of work that goes into making it.  It’s a labor intensive project that becomes more difficult as you age.

Yesterday I was out in the garden just walking around and happy to see that everything I’ve planted has broken ground and looking healthy.  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts the garden is well underway and my batch of red wine is bubbling happily along. I knew I wanted to make a second batch of wine but really hadn’t decided what it would be.  As I was thinking and walking the mail lady pulled into my drive way with a package for me.  It was a small order of winemaking materials I recently ordered to replace what had been used on the red wine.  It must have been a sign from the wine drinking gods.

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As I opened the box to check the order I glanced out the window and noticed that my yard was covered with freshly blooming dandelions.  I decided at that moment to make a batch of dandelion wine out of those blossoms found in my yard.  I should have had my head examined but foolishly prepared for the project anyway.

I dragged a plastic bag, a pair of latex gloves, and an already sore back into the yard and got to it.  Over the next hour I harvested a few thousand dandelion flowers and filled the bag to the top.  I started out just bending over to get the blossoms but the sorer my back became the more I thought about calling it a day. It wasn’t long before I was forced to my hands and knees to complete the collection process.  One of my latex gloves had torn and that hand was now a bright yellow that took some serious scrubbing to remove.  I now had the hands of a thirty-year smoker.

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I finished up and returned to the house to try and work out the kinks in my back and neck.  Unfortunately the worst was yet to come. I wanted to make at least three gallon of this wine which requires five full cups of petals per gallon. The next step was to sit on the deck for another two hours with with a fresh set of gloves and a huge glass of icy cold Sangria.  I sat there and slowly and meticulously began removing the petals from the stems.  With my hands painfully cramping I finally reached my goal of fifteen cups of dandelion petals.

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“Dr. Frankenstein’s Lab”

To make a long story short, I returned to my man-cave, gathered the remainder of the required ingredients and finally had the batch prepared.  I placed the blossoms into  two gallons of filtered water and boiled them for twenty minutes making a beautiful golden yellow liquid.  I added the other ingredients as well plus seven pounds of granulated sugar and allowed the mixture to cool.  That took a few hours and it wasn’t until after dark that I was able to finally able to add the yeast. 

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If I’m lucking and barring any unforeseen catastrophes,  I should get at least 15-17 bottles of a gorgeous golden wine in approximately three and a half months.  Was it worth the effort? I’ll let you know as soon as I can use my hands again and I can bend over without screaming.

This had better be the best damn wine ever made.

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