While dandelions are seen as a weed to many, the flower is actually quite versatile. The leaves add nice bitterness to a summer salad and the petals are great for tea. Dandelion wine has also long been a summer creation of DIYers. As a meadmaker I thought the unique sweet floral taste of the dandelion would work beautifully in a citrusy mead.
Dandelions are in season during late spring/early summer. In the northern hemisphere April and May tend to be the best months to harvest. As a general rule, you will need to pick about 3 quarts of loosely packed flowers for a gallon of mead. This can be a lot of flowers for some, others may have this many in their own lawn. If you can’t gather this many in a single day, you can freeze them until you collect enough. Make sure to pick flowers from areas that you know have not been sprayed with pesticide or weed killer.
This recipe yields 1 gallon of dandelion mead, but can be adjusted for a 5 gallon batch, though that would take a lot of flowers. This recipe is definitely a lobor of love. With the harvesting, and flower prep, it’s one of the most time-consuming meads I’ve ever made. As always, if you let this age for about a year, it will round out very nicely and give you a delicious spring libation to share with friends while celebrating the end of winter!
- 1 gal water
- 3 lbs Wildflower Honey (4 cups)
- 1 tsp Yeast Nutrient
- 1 g Red Star Cote des Blancs
- 1 cup golden raisins (golden raisins will better keep the yellow color of the mead)
- 1.5 pints dandelion petals
- 1 Lemon
- Collect 3 quarts of Dandelion flower heads in full bloom. Rinse any debris off the flower heads.
- Separate the flower petals from the base of the blossoms. Remove as much green flower parts as possible from the petals. These add significant bitterness to the tea.
- In a medium pot, boil 1 gal of water. Add one quart to a mason jar with the petals, and put in the refrigerator to steep for 1 day.
- Remove the rest of the water from heat, wait until the bubbles stop, add honey. Stir until the honey is fully dissolved.
- Add the must, raisins, and yeast nutrient to a sanitized 2 gallon primary fermenter.
- Seal fermentor with airlock and store for a day, until the must cools to about 70 degrees.
- After a day of steeping, strain petals from the dandelion tea and add to fermentor.
- Add the juice and zest of one lemon.
- Aerate the liquid in the fermentor, and add the rehydrated yeast.
- Put the fermentor in a dark place at a temperature of around 70 degrees.
- After 2 weeks, with a siphon, re-rack the mead into a sanitized 1 gallon carboy.
- After 4 weeks, re-rack, then let age for 6 months.
- Fill sanitized bottles and let age for at least 5 more months.
- Drink with friends after the last snow melts to celebrate the beginning of spring!