a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Her papa's dandelion blossom wine

A sample of pages in a recipe book published by graduates of the old Point Marion High School in Pennsylvania.

By Scott Beveridge

POINT MARION, Pa. – If you’re looking for a nip of homemade dandelion blossom wine, a graduate of the old Point Marion High School is handing down a recipe to follow to make the beverage.

Mary Jo Uphold has published the ingredients for her papa’s best use of the common lawn weed in a new recipe book listing the favorite dishes of the alumni of all classes that attended the school in southwestern Pennsylvania.

This book is special because its recipes are hand written in the penmanship of the rural people who supplied them for a fundraiser to benefit the Point Marion Public Library. Attached to each page is a high school photo of the contributor, making this a great way to immortalize Point Marion grads who like their food and want to help the local library.

They are proud of their library because it was one of the first in Pennsylvania to be part of a high school. It’s still in the same building, even though the school has been converted into assisted living apartments.

The folks who put together the recipe book remain fond, too, of their alma mater.

For instance, Helen McCluskey Vereen’s fixings for chilled asparagus with mustard dressing appears in the cookbook beside photos of the Point Marion High School brass band and the school’s majorettes. Dolores Mocniak Walcek’s recipe for beef with gravy appears with class photos of meat-and-potato boys who played football in 1958 and their game schedule when it cost students 35 cents to enter the gates.

And who wouldn’t want to know how Beverly Bowers Ritchie, the 1962 homecoming queen, tosses together her potato salad with bacon and barbecue sauce?

You’ll just have to inquire about purchasing the $15 book to find out how she makes magic with potatoes, and hope there are still some available. The first printing sold out quickly and a second is on order.

But so you know, here is how Uphold’s father matured his wine:

To each gallon of cleaned dandelion blossoms, add 1 gallon boiling water. Use as may gallons as your stone crock allows, filling it to within 1” of the top. Let stand 24 hours, then strain. Return juice to crock, adding 3 pounds sugar and juice of three lemons for each gallons of blossom juice. Allow to ferment at least 4 to 5 days, covering with cloth to keep out insects. Skim and bottle, corking lightly so corks will not pop out or leave uncorked if you wish, so any scum can still rise and be poured off. Cork tightly then; wine will be ready in about three months.

For more information, contact:

Point Marion Public Library
399 Ontario St
Point Marion, PA 15474
(724) 725-9553


Anonymous said...

potato salad with bacon and barbecue sauce...that sounds delicious...

Anonymous said...

Adolph Schilinski makes the best dandelion wine.