But did you know they can even be used to make wine?
Herbal wines can be made from the leaves, flowers, fruits, and roots of any edible herb. Once you understand the basic techniques, and with a little patience, making wine from herbs is simple!
To make a basic herbal wine, you will need a few things to get you started:
- Large container (glass, enameled metal, ceramic, or stainless steel only)
- Sieve, cheesecloth, or white T-shirt
- Large enameled or stainless steel pot
- Small drinking glass or jar, sterilized
- Sterilized glass, ceramic, or food-grade plastic crock or carboy
- Plastic wrap and rubber bands OR a tight-fitting lid and airlock (can be found at brewing shops)
- Bottles and new corks OR bottles/jars with screw-on caps or tight-fitting lids
- Sterilize funnel or siphon
Once you have these tools, your wine-making can begin! There are many recipes for wines of every flavor; below is a common dandelion wine perfect for summer.
Ingredients for Dandelion Wine:
- 6 quarts dandelion flowers, stalks removed
- 2 gallons boiling water
- 2 oranges
- 1 lemon
- 4 pounds sugar
- 1 packet wine yeast
- Pick flowers from a pesticide-free area. Put them in a crock pot with the boiling water and let sit overnight. Strain.
- Juice the oranges and lemon and set aside.
- Put the orange and lemon rinds and dandelion infusion in a pot and simmer, covered, for twenty-five minutes.
- Strain juice into crock pot and bring to a boil, remove from heat, and add sugar. Mix until sugar dissolves.
- Cool to lukewarm. Remove a small amount of the infusion into a separate glass, stir in yeast until it dissolves, and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Pour this mixture back into crock pot with the rest of the infusion. Cover with several layers of plastic wrap/rubber bands or lid/airlock.
- Let sit for one month or more, until vigorous bubbling stops and a thick layer of yeast covers the bottom.
- Funnel wine into sterilized glass jars; compost the rest or save for soup (vitamin-rich dregs). Cork jugs loosely or cover with secured plastic wrap.
- Store in a cool, dark place. After 1-2 months, tap the side of the container to see if bubbles rise to the top. If so, try again in a few weeks. If not, pour off the clear wine into sterilized bottles and cork or cap tightly. Store in a cool, dark place for 5-9 months before serving.
Other popular choices for wine are lavender, elderberry, elderflower, chamomile, and parsley.
You can create a recipe that suits your tastes and health needs, or whip up a delicious flavor combination to impress friends and family.