The nice thing about rose and dandelion wines, as well as other seasonal wines and liqueurs, is that they distill a season. In winter, when you're shivering your way to the mailbox, you can think about the summer wine you finessed out of those long, sunny days. After you come in from the cold, it will warm you up in more ways than one.
If you have the time to spend, between pinching pennies and taking the kids to their recreational commitments, growing and processing your own foods can make for some very happy memories and a few good laughs, too. You may not be up to canning your own chow-chow, but a little wine is easy to brew and always goes down well. If it isn't a complete success, at least it will probably be drinkable, and there's always next year to try another batch.
Rose Petal Wine
*16 Cups Rose petals (rinsed thoroughly)
1 Gallon Water
3 Orange rinds, chopped
3 ½ Pounds Sugar
5 Pepper corns
1 package yeast
2 Cups Orange juice
Combine petals, orange rinds and sugar in a large pot.
Boil water in a separate container and pour over petal mixture.
Bring to a simmer for 30 minutes.
Cool to room temperature.
Add prepared yeast (Follow directions for rehydrating yeast, which may recommend dissolving in warm, not hot, water.)
Add orange juice and spices.
Cover and set aside for three weeks to a month in a dark place to ferment. (This will get fragrant.)
Strain and decant into sterilized jars. Let wine season for three months or so before serving.
*If you want to accumulate 16 cups of rose petals, try harvesting petals a little at a time and freezing them until you have enough for a batch. This is a great summer project. You can have a batch ready to serve for Christmas and New Years.
Special Note: Never use roses that have been treated with pesticides.
This recipe uses no sulfites or special equipment.