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Dandelion wine to secondary fermentation

dandelion Wine to secondary fermentation
dandelion Wine to secondary fermentation. a little lighter in colour.

Well, finally, after what seems like months of babying, nurturing and feeding my dandelion wine during its primary fermentation, stretching it out for many weeks more than it is usually called for, I have given it its final racking and taken it down to the cool basement to sit for the next few months. I hope the only work I have left to do on it now is racking it every few weeks till it is bottled, just to make sure there’s not too much Dandelion Wine must on the bottom and to keep its flavor and color clear.
I did take a bit of a side road making this dandelion wine when I accommodated the 20 L carboy from a 14 L original batch of wine.
To fill-in the gaps and catch up a bit with this story line, I need to add that I’ve fed my primary fermentation slowly for weeks now, after adding an extra 6 L of water. I fed it with sugar syrup and after making the candied Angelica,

Candied Angelica- Boiling in syrup @145 till Translucent
Candied Angelica Boiling in syrup @145 till Translucent

I fed it slowly with the leftover Angelica syrup till the syrup was gone. This added  extra flavor and a touch of Angelica fragrance to the dandelion wine which seems quite complementary. However, only the final tasting, after the bottles have sat for months, will really tell me if it’s a success or not.

Sorted & Cleaned Dandelion Flowers May 2013
Sorted & Cleaned Dandelion Flowers May 2013

All in all I’ve added about an extra 1kg of sugar to the original recipe with the extra 6 liters of water. I will adjust that recipe accordingly now.

People have asked whether it is possible to add sugar and/or water during primary fermentation, so the answer is, obviously, yes. I think, realistically, there is a set amount of sugar that each type of yeast can handle. Once the yeast has turned it into the highest percentage of alcohol it can tolerate, the yeast will cease to work and the rest of the sugar is left as sweetness in the wine. Whether that sugar is added all at once at the beginning of the primary fermentation, or added slowly over the course of weeks, may make no difference. If I had not decided to stretch my 14 liter batch to 20 liters, the original amount of sugar would have sufficed and given a very dry wine. However, that being said, I would not have had that delightful extra, classic, flavour of Angelica in my Dandelion Wine if I had not stretched out the primary fermentation for so long. Having made a note in my formula book, I will be better prepared next spring and synchronize the making of Candied Angelica Stalks so the left over syrup goes directly into next years dandelion wine. I will make it part of the recipe.

Dandelion Wine working at Primary Fermentation. Fizzing, hissing and in general purring contently like a cat.
Dandelion Wine working at Primary Fermentation. Fizzing, hissing and in general purring contently like a cat. The colour was intense! adding 6 liters of water to it toned it down a bit, but the colour is still lovely and rich.

As I mentioned in my most recent post because I used 3 kg of fresh dandelion flowers it gave enough strength to the flavor that I could stretch it by a third without affecting the flavor. Though the color is not as intense as it was before adding the water, it is still a beautiful yellow color and the Dandelion flavor is very much intact.
I will probably rack the wine two more times during its secondary fermentation.
And in a month or so I will bottle it in sterile bottles with sterile corks, slap on some labels and put it aside until December.


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Candied Angelica – A Recipe and Introduction

Angelica Archangelica flowering -Apothecary's Garden, May 2013

Angelica Archangelica.

Angelica Archangelica flowering -Apothecary's Garden, May 2013
Angelica Archangelica flowering -Apothecary’s Garden, May 2013

There was no waffling or indecision when whoever it was, came up with the name for this stately and aromatic plant, Angelica Archangelica. Ruled by the Sun, Angelica is a fragrant, medicinal and culinary delight in all its parts.

  • Medicinally it is a specific for all things digestion related, yet also excellent  for respiratory complaints such as Bronchitis, cold, cough and flu. Angelica is considered carminative, stimulating, a diaphoretic, stomachic, tonic, and expectorant. It is traditionally used to heal and tone the urinary tract and is a comfort in the winter when one has a chill. Taken hot as a tea it helps produce a sweat and break a fever.

Like the Sun, its energy and effects are warming, uplifting, stimulating and energizing.

  •  A tincture made from the root of Angelica makes an excellent natural perfume musk, a warm and spicy base note if one does not want to use animal derived musks
  • From a culinary point of view, the seeds when dried, keep well, and are incorporated in recipes for liqueurs, cakes, cookies and confections. Angelica has been widely used historically for liquors and beverages. Chartreuse and Vermouth are among some of the traditional liqueurs distilled with Angelica, while most digestives and “Bitters” include Angelica in their ingredients. Angelica leaves have been an additive to beers with, and instead of hops. Stalks, seeds and root, when thinly sliced can all be candied, used medicinally or for flavouring.

    All parts of the Angelica plant are healing, warming and balancing to the gastrointestinal tract, stimulating appetite and digestion, settling a stomach after eating and eliminating flatulence.

   If anyone is familiar with the fragrance of Angelica , they will know immediately what a culinary delight it would be if candied.Though it’s said only the tender Spring stalks,(available till mid-May),  are recommended for candying, I plan to test this theory shortly in the month of June. I will post my findings when I have finished the process.
Until then I will leave you with a wonderful recipe for candied Angelica stalks which I adapted slightly and recently used with great results. Candied Angelica is excellent before and after a meal, when one is feeling bloated or “gassy”, it can be incorporated in candies, cakes and ice cream, or used to add flavour to shakes and other treats. In short, candied Angelica stalks are really yummy and make a lovely treat at any time of the day or night.

The syrup of Angelica, used for the candying process should not be wasted. It can be thinned a bit for use as a pancake or ice  cream syrup, or used to “feed” ones  Spring Dandelion Wine if it is still hungry for sugar to turn into alcohol, or if it requires a little extra sweetness and flavour before bottling. (Be sure to read up on the proper way to add sugar to wine when one does not want further fermentation but only a higher sugar content). I am sure creative minds can find many useful applications for this fragrant sweet liquid.

Young Angelica stalks waiting in water for Candying
Young Angelica stalks waiting in water for Candying

One of the secrets to making nice-looking candied Angelica stalks, is to use a little baking soda in the blanching process. This keeps the color a vivid green. Boiling the sugar syrup till it reaches 140-145 degrees Hi Joanna. Yes you are right. I corrected this in a later version, but not in this post.
The sugar water will heat above the boiling point of water once the water evaporates from it. So; When you blanche the stalks, it is 100 Celcius.
When you “cook” them the first time,,before the second and final cooking, assures a translucence and high sugar, (low water), content in the stems. If using this method for candying, I find it is usually easiest to split the stalks lengthwise in half. Though keeping the tubes whole and round does look nice, it is difficult to find a balance between keeping their shape and bringing them to the desired tenderness without having them collapse on themselves. I opted for tenderness.  I will leave it to you to decide whether to keep them as whole tubes or flat strips. Also, I have found that cutting them to 4 inch lengths, works better for me than 6 to 8 inch lengths as some of the old and traditional recipes call for.
Candied Angelica will keep for at least a couple of years if properly stored in a sealed dry container preferably in a dark cool place, though rarely will it last that long before the last sweet crumbs are gone..

I think that is it for insights and comments, I have tried a few recipes over the years, this is my favourite for this traditional and delightful treat. Enjoy! And please feel free to let me know how your Candied  Angelica stalks turn out or if you have any questions along the way.

Dan Riegler

 A Recipe for Candied Angelica Stalks

(Yields about 400 Grams of candied Angelica stalks).

  • Harvest enough young green Angelica stalks to give you 500 grams, (approximately a pound) or so when cleaned. If you harvest the thicker, large stalks, they will work well and are firm enough to keep their shape. The narrower tubes, all the way up to the leaves, will be firm enough to use and will work well. So stay away from the more delicate offshoots of the plant, or plants that are very young. Second year plants or older should be used. You will need;
  • 2 cups sugar,about 500 grams.
  • 2 cups water about 1/2 liter.
  • 1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda.
  • Enough water to just cover stalks for blanching.
  • Sugar, granulated, or fine confectioners sugar for coating.
  • An airtight container.


  • Cut Angelica stalks into 4 inch sections. You can use many of the narrower diameter “tubes” closer to the leaves.
  • Bring enough water to just cover your cut stalks, to a boil.
  • Add baking Soda
  • Add your cut stalks and boil for 5 minutes or so, or until they are noticeably tender when pricked with a fork.
  • Remove from boiling water, plunge into cold water or cold running water till cool.
  • Use a knife to strip away or peel the stalks from the fibers that run their length. Much like Celery. See photo.
    Angelica for candying-Stripped of leaves, cut into 3"-4" sections
    Angelica for candying-Stripped of leaves, cut into 3″-4″ sections

    Angelica-  Cut, Blanched, peeled, for candying -2013
    Angelica- Cut, Blanched, peeled, for candying -2013
  • For each 500 grams of uncooked Angelica stalks take 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water, bring sugar and water to a boil.
  • Boil peeled Angelica stalks in sugar syrup for 5 minutes, (only). When cooled remove and cover the stalks with the syrup in a glass container or pan, cover and let stand for 1-2 days.
  • Separate the syrup, boil it till it reaches 125 degrees Celcius.
  • Let cool and pour syrup over stalks in the glass vessel or pan again and let stand again covered for 1-2 days.
  • Separate and pour syrup into a pot. Bring to boil, and boil it until the temperature of the syrup reaches 140- 145 degrees Celcius.
  • Add stalks and boil for 5 minutes or so until they are translucent, (partially see through).
  • Use tongs and remove stalks from syrup. Let them drip dry on a rack.
  • Pour granulated or confectioners sugaronto a plate. Coat them with sugar. press each side in firmly if you sliced them into flat strips.

    Candied Angelica- Boiling in syrup @145 till Translucent
    Candied Angelica- Boiling in syrup @145 Celcius-till Translucent
  • Put them on a rack and dry them in the oven at a very low temperature. (90 Celcius).
  • After 1/2 hour to 2 hours when they are not sticky, but before they get brittle, pull the rack out of the oven, let them come to room temperature and pack them loosely in a sealed jar. Note, make sure you let them cool to room temperature first, otherwise they will release moisture into the jar which will condense and may spoil them after a few weeks.
  • Store and enjoy.
Candied Angelica translucent & sugar coated to oven for drying at low temperature
Candied Angelica translucent,(an experiment), & sugar coated to oven for drying at low temperature
  • Candied Angelica & Dandelion Wine 2013
    Candied Angelica & Dandelion Wine 2013. Only part of the yield of candied stalks. Leftover flavoured sugar syrup from Angelica feeds the Wine in primary fermentation.
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Candied Wild Ginger recipe

A treat for the senses, Wild Ginger, Asarum Canadenses offers infinite delights in the kitchen and Perfume studio.

Candied Wild Ginger.

As promised, I am adding the first recipe for Wild Ginger. I will copy it to my Recipe section for easy future reference.

Candied Wild Ginger is probably one of my favourite Wild Ginger recipes. This recipe yields two separate products, candied Wild Ginger and a delicious syrup used for pancakes and ice cream, added to shakes and smoothies, drizzled on Yoghurt and fruit salads and added to  dressings and sauces. In my mind I can almost visualize its spicy sticky sweetness part of some kind of Cinnamon bun recipe. I am sure those of you that are much more accomplished than I at the culinary and confectionery arts could work wonders with it. I have used powdered Wild Ginger with great results in ginger snaps chocolate chip  and peanut butter cookies, but haven’t explored baking to as great a degree as others I know.

I would Love to hear any tips, ideas or Wild Ginger recipes you might have. Or questions, so please, don’t hesitate to leave a note in the comments section.

A treat for the senses, Wild Ginger, Asarum Canadenses offers infinite delights in the kitchen and Perfume studio.
A treat for the senses, dried Wild Ginger, Asarum Canadenses offers infinite delights in the kitchen and Perfume studio.

 Candied Wild Ginger


  • 1.5 cup granulated sugar
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 50 grams dried Wild Ginger broken into 1/2″ to 2″ pieces. 
  • Extra sugar for coating when done.
  • Bring the water to a boil,
  • Give your dry Wild Ginger a quick but thorough scrub in cold water.
  • Add Wild Ginger pieces to boiling water, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Stir in sugar till dissolved and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  • Set aside to cool down to room temperature
  •  Once cooled, put it in a jar and let it sit for 2 days in a covered non metallic jar.
  • Drain all the liquid and let the Wild Ginger pieces stand in a colander till they stop dripping.
  • Take 1 cup of sugar for each 50 grams of original dried Wild Ginger, mix the sugar and Ginger in a bowl till the ginger no longer picks up sugar granules.
  • ( I often let the moist Wild Ginger sit for a few hours in the sugar.)
  • When you are ready, put your candied Wild Ginger loosely into a well sealed glass or ceramic jar to keep for future use .

  2. Add the sugar-water back to a pot with any sugar left over from coating the candied pieces, heat and stir.

    -When the new sugar dissolves, strain your syrup through a fine sieve, return to the pot and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.

  3. -When cool, bottle in clean or sterile bottles.
  4. This is your Wild Ginger Pancake Syrup. You can either keep it in the fridge for a few weeks,(6?), or “Preserve” it in sterile bottles and keep it longer.
  5.   If you would like it thicker, either add more sugar or boil it down till it thickens further, (or both)! I am sure there are some other culinary tricks for thickening a sugar syrup, but these are the ones I know of. Candied Wild Ginger will last a very long time if not gobbled up as is usually the case. A few years ago I made the mistake of hiding my treasured jar of candied Wild Ginger so well, that I forgot all about it for a couple of years!!. It is now almost 4 years old and is still preserved perfectly and just as mouth-watering as the day it was made!! (see photos).
 Candied Wild Ginger 2009. Still tastes amazing!!!
Candied Wild Ginger 2009.
Candied Wild Ginger 2009. Wild Ginger Syrup.
Candied Wild Ginger, Asarum Canadense 2009. Still tastes amazing!!!
Wild Ginger ready to be candied. Asarum Canadense. 2012 Harvest
Wild Ginger ready to be candied. Asarum Canadense. 2012 Harvest

A closing note to everyone. Though currently, in our area,(Southern Ontario), Wild Ginger is not a protected plant, nor is it on any kind of endangered list. If you already have made its acquaintance, and know where to find it, please treat it with respect and care, it is a privilege.

Give a little something back, either before or after you harvest!

Harvest in a way that is in harmony with the plant and its growth patterns. A way that will encourage its natural propagation and growth, and  not be harmful to the plot you are harvesting from.

One way of doing this is to harvest the more mature “Nodes” as I call them. These are the central points or “Hubs” from which it sent out shoots in past years, which in turn rooted and sent out their own shoots and runners the next year etc. This removal of the center pieces not only gives the harvester prime herb, a higher yield of roots, but it is no longer needed by the offshoots and I believe will actually stimulate them to grow well and establish themselves as new “Parents” or central nodes for more runners or shoots. It is more in harmony with its natural growth patterns, ( and ours,) as it reminds one of the child leaving home, becoming independent and getting well rooted on its own, then becoming a parent, (Hub) itself as it sends out more of its own shoots to root and grow.

However you approach and engage plants, it is always a relationship. The only choice we have is what kind of relationship it is going to be. Though Nature seems passive and yielding to our choices, whether to her benefit or detriment, there is, I believe, a lot more going on in forest and woods than meets the eye. She is not as defenseless as we may think.

So, if you get whipped in the face or tripped unexpectedly by a branch for instance, consider them polite hints, by a gracious host, and at the very least,  stop, and be still for a moment, contemplate, your actions and choices,  and just Listen. 


Dan Riegler