Monday, September 1, 2008

Löwensaft auf Frühling

My mother was "Low German" rural poor, and grew up in Depression-era Nebraska, where every bit of flora and fauna you could forage was canned, dried or cured.  Each year, my Aunts would gather in my mother's kitchen to lay down quarts of spiced apples, apricots, beans, corn, tomatoes, kraut, pickles -- whatever they grew or picked from our farm and neighbors' farms.  In homage to that thrifty spirit and my Bohunk Mother, I brew this Lions Juice of Spring.

My wife and girls helped me pick for two hours on the first day of the new season. Our goats, Panny and Billy, would ignore the millions of yellow heads around them, and wait for us to lay down a picked bag, then gorge.

- 3 1/2 gallons of dandelion heads (no stems), steeped for 45 minutes in hot water
-4 lbs. golden raisins, chopped
-8 oranges, zest and juice
-8 lemons, zest and juice
-12 lbs. sugar
-3 tsp. yeast nutrient
-boiled with 3 1/2 gal. spring water, cooled to 70, then topped to 5 gal.
-pitched 1 pkg. Côte de Blanc and 1 pkg. Champagne yeast

Laid down April 2008. Re-rack off the lees every 3 months. Condition until March 2009.