Phil Tonks: Hi, I'm Phil Tonks, owner and wine maker at Grandview Winery in East Calais, Vermont. We're going to talk about Dandelions today. Now Dandelion is a very healthy plant as much as some people try to eradicate it everywhere they can. In fact Dandelion's leaves are very nutritious. Now to pick Dandelion leaf you want to look for the ones that are like a foot long, growing at the edge or the margin of the field, that haven't been sprayed and you want to pick them before the flowers come out.
Now dandelion leaves, you can use them anyway you would spinach and they're very healthy. But today we're going to talk about dandelion flowers and making Dandelion wine. Now the key with this is, we need to remove as much of the green as we can. So now we'll start picking a few flowers and I'll show you how we do this.
Now it takes a lot of dandelion flowers to make a gallon of wine. In fact, it takes eight cups of petals just to make one gallon. As you can see here in the bucket, I've already got a few picked. What we're going to do is just pick the flower right off and the back of the flower, we'll pull all the petals together. There's a natural place where this separates. So what I'm going to do is just twist the green off the bottom. That's a throw away. This is what I'm keeping is the petals.
So each time we're picking a flower and pulling the petals together, twisting on the bottom, and adding the petals to it. Now while I'm doing this, you get pretty used to doing it pretty quickly. It does, as you see, it comes to apart easily. For those of you who remember your biology class, this is called the abscission layer. And it's the natural place where the petals let go when they turn to seeds and blow off as nice white flowers.
You'll also notice on the stem, there's a little bit of white on the stem. That actually turns out to be a similar to a latex. In fact, during the World War II, Spanish government was looking at using this to make rubber tyres. That aside, we keep picking on these and we keep accumulating in this as we go along, as I said there's a lot of petals to be used. I would pick them from the field that is not being sprayed by herbicide or pesticide. And if you're certainly going to go pick them at somebody else's yard, it's kind of ask them first if you can pick them. And you usually get a really nice reaction.
Now once we have collected enough of these, and remember I said it's eight cups to the gallon, next thing to do is to make the wine. So next we're going to go into the winery and actually put together the Dandelion wine.