Our ancestors ate lots of probiotic foods before refrigeration became the norm. (Probiotics are good bugs that live in the digestive tract.) They cultured foods like sauerkraut to preserve them, and it made them more digestible. They fermented dairy products which prolonged their life, and it made them more nutritious. Now we know that when we have enough good bugs, we absorb our nutrients properly and our digestive systems run more smoothly.
Probiotic dandelion wine is a great spring tonic to “liven-up” your digestive tract and supply some much-needed lecithin (although egg yolks from pastured chickens is the best source) to those whose livers are taxed. Most of today’s lecithin supplements come from soy which is a known goitrogen, a substance that suppresses thyroid function, and is usually genetically modified.
First Step: Make a Ginger Bug
A ginger bug is the live starter for your wine.
Ginger Bug Ingredients
2 cups water
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons diced ginger with the skin
In a quart size jar combine all ingredients.
Screw lid on the jar, shake it, and allow it to sit in a warm spot (74-80F) out of direct sun light.
Every day for the next three-four days add 2 more teaspoons each of sugar and diced ginger. The liquid will begin to get bubbly, burp it if necessary (it can explode!). Once it’s bubbly, it’s ready! (The unused portion can be stored in the fridge and reactivated by returning to warm temps and ‘re-feeding’ the bugs with sugar and ginger.)
Now, for the Dandy part…
Send your children out to pick dandelion flowers. Remember, the more green on your blooms, the more bitter the wine.
To Make a Dandelion Infusion:
Fill a gallon jar ¾ of the way full of the blooms.
Pour two quarts of boiling water into the jar. WAIT! Before you do that, make sure that the jar is hot, or that you have a large metal spoon in the jar to prevent it from breaking.
Cover and allow it to cool completely.
Strain. This is the infusion.
Make a Syrup to feed the fermentation:
Dissolve 1/3 cup Sucanat or Cane Juice Crystals in ½ cup very hot water. Cool completely.
Put It Together
Separate the infusion into two one-quart jars leaving ½ cup space for the remaining ingredients.
Add ¼ cup ginger bug to each jar.
Add ¼ cup sugar syrup to each jar.
Cover jars with paper towels or linen napkins and rubber bands. Keep at 74-80F degrees for three-four days until it bubbles.
Bottle the wine in safe bottles. Grolsch beerbottles work great.
Allow bottles 24 hrs at 74-80F to encourage carbonation.