my cousin and i are a lot alike.  we look alike-well, mostly.  she’s the long, tall, thin version of me and i’m her with curves to spare and 8 inches taken off the top.  personality wise, we are both pretty wild.  each in our own way, but untamed we are.

she’s always fun to hang out with because where i love to talk about all these really cool ideas, she’s the one with the follow through.

i introduced her to this book a few months ago.  i’ve yet to make a recipe from it, but she’s done at least three or four by herself.  this weekend i spent with her, she decided it was time to follow yet another one.  dandelion wine!!!!!

when i was a little girl, i went outside because it was there. (thank yougeorge mallory!)  as i got older and became more of an indoor pet, i needed a siren call.  herbs were it.  they were what got me back outside to forage, play, seek out the green mysteries.  i’ve made plenty of tinctures and oils, but wine?  not yet.

here’s what you’ll need to make five gallons of wine: (five gallons????? what do you take me for wild woman, a lush?  nope.  but this shite is tasty and it takes a year to make and you won’t be drinking alone.  this is for sure a community celebration kind of thing-both in the making and the tasting.)

a SHIT TON of dandelions-2 cups of blossoms per gallon.  (we-and by we i don’t mean me-picked 10 tightly packed cups worth of blossoms to make….FIVE.  GALLONS.)

golden raisins (1 lb per gallon)

oranges/lemons (2 each per gallon)

sugar (2 lbs per gallon)

a packet of wine yeast (we used champagne yeast)

a five gallon crock or clean plastic bucket

car boy and air valve (or go old school, use empty apple cider gallons gleaned from your healthy food store and use either a balloon or one of those condoms that you’ve been meaning to use cuz you bought it in such an optimistic moment…i digress)

a bunch of willing kids (i think this may be the most important ingredient.  my cousin and i did a lot of talking and giggling about who knows what in her kitchen while our collective four kids were off in a field picking dandelions.)

and several liters worth of patience.

you can get the book or do a google search to find instructions for the specific steps or this will be the longest. blog. entry. ever.

i will touch on the highlights.

when both of our families, totaling 8, were sitting out of the porch making up songs and BAD raps while the sun set around us as we freed the yellow blossoms from the green sepals.  her daughter, my comedic soul mate (the one person in this world who may ACTUALLY be funnier than me!) figured out a fantastic twist and pull method that decreased the frustration level of this task by a factor of 15.

discovering that those darn kids had actually picked EXACTLY enough for our recipe.  like to the blossom.  PRECISELY ten cups of bright yellow flowers.

washing the antique five gallon earthen-ware crock that my cousin scored from her mother-in-law.  (all i ever scored from mine was a bad taste in my mouth for mother-in-laws.)

breathing in the aroma of 10 cups of dandelion blossoms, orange juice, lemon juice and raisins.  it’s like nothing else i’d ever smelled but close to so many things.  it is almost like mown grass.  it is almost like a new flower.  it is almost like candy.  yet, it is like none of these things.

adding sugar.  and then more sugar.  and then more sugar.

everyone in the house having to stir the slush mess with the huge wooden paddle, obsessively.  even my cousin-in-law, all 6’2 mountain man of hisself.

two days into the fermentation, i nickname the crock the “pot o’rot”.

watching the past three episodes of glee with my little cousin and turning the sound down during the commercials to gush about puck’s hotness.  in the pauses, we would hear the pot o’rot gurgle as the yeast feed and bubble.

here’s the basic procedure in pictures:

blossoms, peels, and raisins. yep, we ran out of the goldens.

introducing the white death-meant for the consumption of yeast and yeast only, kids.

the yinnish yanginess of it all.

squeals the sugar, "i'm melting, i'm melting." (sorry...too easy.)

first stir of millions.

these little buggers will eat the sugar and we get wine. what a tradeoff, suckers!

full crock

two days later-notice the way that the pot o' rot seems much fuller (it's all the yeast farts!) i had a better pic but couldn't resist the lurking kid.

this project is the best of the wild world.  lots of outside time, using an ingredient that most people pour pesticides onto (suckers!), laughter on top of giggles layered with guffaws, community, and, at the end of it all, shifted consciousness, in this case, wine.

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