Come Forth into the Light of Things

My spring fever requires many tonics.

After our conversation with the gentlewoman who whiled away the time with us as we picked dandelions (see last post), my foraging sights have taken on new inspiration. As I walk the streets, I look at everything edible and think…

Could I make wine out of YOU?

Why yes, says the lavender, flashing its glowing purple radiance and catching my eye. You certainly can.

My Recipe:

The infusion

Two full cups lavender flowers (depending on the variety, you can pull the multiple flowers off the stem (like the first picture) or leave the heads intact (like the kind below). I used both.). If you are using dried, you can use 1/3-1/2 cup.

1 gallon water

Bring flowers and water to a boil and then let steep overnight. I pulled my flowers out half way through because I didn’t want the “tea” to be too strong.

The next day add:

Juice and zest of one lemon
2-3 lbs sugar (depending on if you want dry or sweet wine)
1/2 lb chopped golden raisins.

Bring to a boil again and let steep for 12-24 hours.

For this experiment, I decided to use this wine yeast:

Initially I was going to make a sweet wine. But the lavender infusion smelled so strong that when I imagined it with sugar my first thought was “cough syrup”. After adding the lemon, it smelled like beautiful lavender lemonade, so I decided to go for a dry wine.

Strain out the flowers and fruit (fine mesh strainer and cheesecloth is the ticket) and heat back up to a comfy warm.

Dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of the potion.

Bubble bubble, toil and trouble

I decided to add 1/5 tsp of yeast nutrient to the brew, so the wine wouldn’t be too dry. After the yeast begins to activate, add it to the larger pot and let sit for 1-3 days.

Alas, I’m a bit concerned. The dandelion wine in the beginning smells like a yummy yeasty mimosa. The lavender wine smells like…dry yeasty…nothing. Not bad, just not appealing. What will happen? Time will tell!

I know what you are thinking. If it’s lavender wine then it should be….lavender. Maybe the aging process will turn it purple? Maybe it is meant to be blended with blackberries? That will be just right, as it will be ready to drink come August.

Speaking of the aging process, another good thing about making wild foraged wine is that 1 gallon of it cost me under $3. Which is a lot cheaper than Yves St. Laurent under eye concealer, which, at this magnificent age of 38 is almost seeming worth it at $40 a pop.

I’ll just drink home made wine instead.

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14 thoughts on “Come Forth into the Light of Things

  1. Yummy Yoo. Thanks for sharing this recipe!!

    Is it really that simple? and does the ‘wine’ take on an alcohol content, as well??

    1. yup, that simple! this is the first time i’ve done the lavender, so i can’t vouch for it yet, but the dandelion wine is a sure thing. and yes, the wine yeast is for fermentation…it’s the real deal!

  2. OMG that is so awesome!! I thought it would be purple too….I use dried lavender in a few of my cocktail recipes and when you melt it into a syrup it turns bright purple! Your site is amazing! Love it!

  3. ok, so, lavender wine, eh, not so much…but do tell, yves saint laurent under eye concealer?? how fabulous is it?

    1. NOT THAT YOU NEED IT GIANNA but from the tiny bit i tried it’s tres magnifique. and that memory is all i took home with me, cause $40 is 40 more dollahs than i got.

  4. First of alls, do you really pull your daughter around town in a wagon? I love that.
    Second, I believe the more wild wines you make and drink with friends, the greater your good karma grows. Wish I could share a jar with you.

    1. hi rachel! yes, fern’s wagon is the apple of her eye (and honestly mine too), and we use it in lieu of a stroller. your question has inspired me to create a link to the first post about it, in the sidebar.

      when we opened our dandelion wine at fern’s b-day last fall, it was a very magical moment, despite the undertone of skepticism amongst some of the crowd. our first sips were uniting in a way, and i did feel like i was sharing the goodness of our lives. i wish we could share a jar together too! when the day comes to open it, i will raise my glass in a toast to a kindred spirit over the mountains who truly knows the beauty of connecting to community through land and food.

  5. A jar of wine is worth so much more than a tiny vessel of under-eye cream, methinks.

    It’s in fact a thing of beauty and, I’m sure, I hope a delight. You’re so inspiring me to try my own wine-making.

    Hubby and I watched this beautiful documentary last night about the Pebble mine at the at head-waters of the greatest salmon run in the world, and in one very casual, but moving scenes one of the young fisherman-guys says, as he’s drinking some booze in his boat with the crew, just after his engine that he’s worked so hard on, blew up : “You think about what a worthy life is and I figure if you have few good stories to tell in the end, you’ve done good…” (more or less)

    Making your own lovely flower brew is a heck of a better story (whether it comes out awful or sublime 😉 than most anything money could buy.

    1. ah, you are so right and that quote from the movie brings tears to my eyes, and your comment broke the spell i was under yesterday…a spell that had me fretting over aging and appearances. its difficult in the city, with so many eyes, of so many others, encountered whenever i step out the door. in a more rural setting, those eyes are of the plants and animals and trees and elements and their otherness does not give me the sense of being scrutinized. my sense of real value can get skewed in this metropolis.

      what a gem, to focus on the story, rather than the end result. it’s all in the living and the telling. you put a spring in my step, thanks!

  6. I just brought home scads of wild lavendar flowers from Utah! I am dying to hear how this recipe turned out!

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