On home-grown hooch

Yard weeds?  I say “revenge.”

My husband is the kind of neat freak who, when not otherwise occupied, loves to do things like change the furniture arrangements.  (Can you tell I hate having furniture moved.)  He’s also one to neaten cabinets and go through closets and tidy books on their shelves.  Hey: I am all for clean, but please leave my pantry and kitchen alone!  And mostly he listens, but sometimes he can’t help himself.  He tidied my pantry this week and I am truly going mad trying to find things.

(Please, someone send him a commission soon so he gets out of my hair.)

So it’s with a little hidden mirth that I know I am driving him bonkers by having two types of cheese starter and one batch of cheese doing their microbial thing on the kitchen counter.  And next to the cheese stuff is a bowl of a new sourdough starter.  Oh, and there’s the yogurt brewing in its cooler on the floor, and the kombucha perched on the butcher block:  say “SCOBY” and just watch him squirm!

But my own version of marital spat?  Stinky dandelions steeping in the pantry!  It’s for my first batch of dandelion wine.  muahhahah!

18 responses to “On home-grown hooch

  1. Hi El,

    May I ask what method/recipe you are using? I have been reading about making my own dandelion wine, but having never drunk any before, I’m not 100% sure where to start.

    • Hi Mary. It’s a combination of a couple of recipes, I am afraid, and then I don’t even have the quantities of those recipes 100% correct. What I CAN say is most of the stuff is hyperlocal. Here is a nice link to some decent recipes: I am mostly following Recipe #3. I have only sampled others’ dandelion wine, and the one I thought was pretty brilliant had a lot of white grape juice in it so that’s what I added (I grow white juice grapes).

  2. Thanks. I’ll let you know what I end up doing!

  3. You might want to do a little research about keeping some distance between your sourdough starter and any cheeses. I have messed up some cheeses by having them in the same room as a sourdough starter

    • Thanks Janet. I had thought of that. The cheese starters were enclosed in their sealed jars and are now in the safety of the refrigerator…not that there aren’t loads of icky spores in there too 😀 But once I age my cheeses, they’re going to a different part of the house altogether. Sorry to hear your sourdough, er, traveled.

  4. I love the idea of dandelion wine, thanks for the link you provided Mary with. I saved it and may have to try making it sometime. We have yet to make any wine but want to do so this year.:)

  5. I’ve read and heard so much about dandelion wine over the years but have never tried it.One wonders how people first thought to make hooch out of certain things.My fave is the Artichoke Liqueur Cynar.Who looked at a choke and thought we can make a drink out of this.

  6. You have quite a productive approach to your squabbles.

  7. hey – speaking of wine…did you ever get ahold of my brother?

  8. Sandy In Georgia

    Gosh… I thought I was the only woman in the world married to a man like that. I feeeeeeel your pain.

  9. All: I know I sound like such a pain: here I am with a husband who likes to clean! Boohoo! Actually I think it’s merely a philosophical difference between the two of us. I thrive with a little chaos (like all the microbial birth/death on my counters) whereas he’s more of an out of sight, out of mind kind of guy. If it wasn’t for me he’d still be eating processed food, and if it wasn’t for him I would be a lot sloppier and probably more out there with my experiments. I guess you have to seek a balance and my lot in life is to simply have to find things again after he goes into one of his cleaning jags.

    Mary: Do let me know! This is prime dandelion season now around here, when they haven’t set seed yet but everyone’s carpeting the lawn with gold. I love the way the stuff smells now so with luck it will taste mighty fine too.

    Thanks again for your input, Janet. There’s something to be said for trying one thing at a time, eh?

    Mike, well, for you I would think it’s the next step! And cider-making too, keeping the fresh stuff for that grandson of yours. Nothing like being truly self-sufficient, eh? And like John says below you can make wine and mead about of just anything…and you know our ancestors sure tried!

    Thanks John, how funny. Like I said to Mike I think that necessity has always been the mother of invention. Artichokes and cardoon and thistle in full bloom look exactly alike, with their gorgeous purple tops…it would be quite tempting to make something out of their pretty (tender) blossoms.

    Pamela, you don’t know the half of it. Normally he just stays out of the kitchen and all is swell. But with most things I guess I do angle for an edible outcome 🙂

    Jules! I figured I would wait until there was something going on. It would be like trying to learn from an experienced gardener in January, calling him up right now. But heck, winemaking takes months so there probably ALWAYS is something going on, right?

    Oh Sandy THANKS for making my day. I wouldn’t mind it so much but he’s such a crab when he’s on a cleaning binge. Everyone, including the dog, stays out of his way. And here I am complaining. Ah well. I guess we’re stuck with them 😉

  10. You are a meanie, but it seems reasonable. I mean, pantries should be sacred.

  11. Thanks for all of the great ideas – quick question about the wine… in the link that you gave to Mary, the recipes all call for yeast and yeast nutrient. What did you use? How do I make or find what will work.

    I think my kids are going to be picking dandelions with me this week! 🙂

  12. Stef, well, a girl’s gotta draw the line. I mean, you walk in the pantry and you can’t find your stuff? You get crabby!

    Hi Emily. I got a whole mess of stuff (wine yeast and carboys and sulphur tablets) from a friend of mine who’s in this for a living. That said, all yeast is NOT yeast: the stuff you use to make your bread rise is not the stuff you’ll need for wine. There are so many varieties, too, of yeast and they do all kinds of things…in other words it is a deep subject. The guy whose recipes I mentioned does a fair bit of explanation on the subject, and of course you can google “wine yeast kits” and find sources. Sorry, that’s probably not very helpful, but if it means anything I haven’t had to add the yeast yet (it’s just sitting doing its thing in the pantry) so I haven’t fully researched it either!!!

  13. First time we made dandelion wine, I was lazy and did not remove the calyx. The green parts do give a bitter taste. lesson learned. It was salvageable though… thanks to the copious addition of lemon juice, orange juice & honey. Was pretty heady too…

    • Hi Sylvie. Thanks! I left the calyxes on too but then again I added about another third of the volume of white grape juice so hopefully that’ll knock out some bitterness. And sugar. Oh and I am looking forward to its being nice and heady!

  14. I find my frig and pantry rearranged quite often too. My husband waits until I’m distracted on the phone or out so he can straighten to his hearts content without interruption. I tell him I’m going to go to his work and mess with his tools so that he has to play hide and seek to get his job done too.

  15. Don’t be hasty in trying the finished wine. My dad made wine in the 80s and it was undrinkable. It languished in the basement for over a decade, until the family moved out of that house.

    I took home one of the last of the bottles, and it was amazing.

    This one is a long storer – you have to wait for it.

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