Foraged Recipes

Recipe: Chickweed wine? Yes, and it’s REALLY good!

Recipe: Chickweed wine? Yes, and it's REALLY good! thumbnail
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This chickweed wine recipe produces a light, nuanced floral white wine with notes of grass and citrus. In this article, we’ll show you exactly how to make your own!


If you’d told us a couple years back that:

  1. you can make wine with chickweed (Stellaria media), and
  2. the resulting wine would not only be drinkable but really good,

then we’d have wondered if you were smoking chickweed.

Don’t get us wrong — we love chickweed and have sung its praises as one of the top edible “weeds” for years. However, raw chickweed tastes like corn silk though — not something we ever ate and said, “we should make wine with this.”

We promise we're not crazy or poor judges of wine character. Yes, chickweed wine is actually quite good!

We promise we’re not crazy or poor judges of wine character. Yes, chickweed wine is actually quite good!

Discovering chickweed wine   

A little over a year ago, we started getting on a wine-making kick. That’s when The Tyrant stumbled into a chickweed wine recipe by winemaker extraordinaire Jack Keller. The other primary ingredient was citrus, which we also happen to have growing in abundance at the same time as our chickweed patches are thriving.

We decided to give it a shot, with a few of our own tweaks added. Worst case, we figured we’d sacrifice some citrus fruit and our spoiled flock of Welsh Harlequin ducks would get less chickweed in their water bowls. Best case, we might discover something new and interesting… 

Making chickweed wine - and a mess.

Making chickweed wine – and a mess.

Since then we’ve made elderberry wine, aronia-blackberry wine, wisteria flower wine, pumpkin “champagne”, and chickweed wine. All have turned out well, although the wisteria wine needs at least another 6-12 months to dry (lose sweetness). 

*For the record, we’re not alcoholics – we’ll drink these over a long period of time and give bottles of the best ones away as gifts. 

The wine we had the lowest expectation for out of the bunch was chickweed. Thus we were very surprised when — one year after bottling — we tried our chickweed wine and found it be a really good wine. Even our parents (who are wine aficionados) think our chickweed wine is darn good. 

So, if you’re now sold on the idea of making your own chickweed wine, the basic recipe plus detailed step-by-step instructions are below!

*Note: Wine making items and ingredients used in this recipe are also listed below the recipe card with links to recommended products you can buy online. 

chickweed wine recipe
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Chickweed wine

Course: Drinks, wine
Keyword: chickweed recipe, chickweed wine, homemade wine
Author: Susan von Frank

A surprisingly delicious light, nuanced floral white wine with notes of grass and citrus - made from chickweed (Stellaria media) and citrus. 

Ingredients

  • 2 gallons water
  • 3 quarts chickweed, lightly packed
  • 5 lbs organic cane sugar
  • juice and thinly sliced skins from citrus we used 1 Meyer lemon, 1 pink lemon, 1 navel orange, 5 calamondins (small citrus about the size of kumquats) - you can use whatever citrus blend you want, or just use all lemons.
  • 1/2 tsp tannic acid
  • 1 tsp pectic enzyme
  • 1 tsp acid blend
  • 1 tsp yeast nutrient
  • campden use ¼ tsp per 6 gallons liquid
  • 1 packet Lalvin EC-1118 wine yeast

Instructions

  1. Juice citrus and thin slice the rind and peels. Boil 2 gallons water. Place chickweed + citrus skins (not juice) into fermentation vessel and pour boiling water over the top. Add campden to kill off any contaminants. Let steep for 24 hours. 

  2. After 24 hours, strain out chickweed and citrus skins and pour liquid back into pot on stove. Heat water enough to dissolve sugar (which you add now), using whisk. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. 

  3. Add citrus juice, wine yeast, yeast nutrient, acid blend, pectic enzyme, tannic acid, & other remaining ingredients. Because the tannic acid, pectic enzyme, and acid blend tend to clump a bit, we held out 1 cup of solution and mixed it into that, then added it to the final mixture. We took hydrometer reading of 1.110 here, so we added 4 cups of water to bring down specific gravity reading to 1.098 at 2.5 gallons total liquid. Your readings may vary, so you may not need to or want to add any additional water here.

  4. Pour liquid into primary fermenter (we use a conical fermenter, cover with clean cloth, and let ferment 7 days. Stir every 12 hours (twice daily).

  5. After 7 days in primary, rack liquid off into secondary fermenter (carboy) and fit with airlock. Rack monthly into sanitized secondary until no sediments are at the bottom for 30 days, then do final rack into bottles. (We reused old sanitized screw top wine bottles.)

  6. For best flavor, chickweed wine should mature in bottles at least one year. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

WARNING: If you happen to be a breastfeeding woman (as The Tyrant is right now), you’ll want to avoid consuming chickweed, including in wine form. Chickweed may contain certain compounds that reduce milk flow. It’s only anecdotal evidence, but another breastfeeding friend of ours had her milk supply drop suddenly and significantly soon after eating lots of chickweed over several days.


Recommended ingredients and products for this recipe (and wine/beer making in general): 

Chickweed wine recipe from Tyrant Farms

Enjoy drinking your weeds!

You may have heard the common foraging refrain: “eat the weeds.” Now you can drink your weeds, too!

We hope you love this delicious chickweed wine recipe and make new batches when your chickweed springs up each year.

KIGI,

Get into the weeds with these other articles from Tyrant Farms:

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