Dandelion wine and changing times

By Grant McGee: CNJ columnist

The front yard is full of dandelions, a riot of deep green. The dandelions make the front yard look so lush and they’re getting bigger. I reckon I’m going to have to break out the lawn mower, and it isn’t even April.

They made me remember something I read long ago about taking a spring tonic of dandelion-something when winter was over. Was it dandelion tea? Was it dandelion wine?

I found an old recipe for the wine, and with it I see how things have changed over the years. The recipe said to gather up an oversized gallon of dandelion blossoms, wash them, put them in an earthenware crock, pour boiling water over them, cover and let stand for a day and a half.

An earthenware crock?

Strain the blossoms through a muslin bag. A muslin bag? Do you have a muslin bag? Anyway, pour the juice into a stone jug and add the grated rind of 5 oranges and lemons. Tie some cheesecloth on the top of the jug. Let it stand in your kitchen for a week then move it into the basement for the next three months. A basement? Not many of those around eastern New Mexico. Anyway, after three months you bottle it and drink it. The recipe doesn’t say so but I’m thinking I’d strain it again.

Dandelions and dandelion wine remind me of stories my mother told.

“My friends would come over to visit and my father would bring out the dandelion wine, he made it in the bathtub,” she told me.

The bathtub?

Now The Lady of the House is telling me the weeds that are greening-up the front yard aren’t dandelions. I was a Boy Scout, you’d think I’d have known.

Just as well. I don’t have an earthenware crock, stone jug or muslin bag.

Grant McGee is a long-time broadcaster and former truck driver who rides bicycles and likes to talk about his many adventures on the road of life. Contact him at: bikedude@plateautel.net