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Requested Recipe:


"My sister has tons of bushel basket chrysanthemums and since I've 'expanded' into
flower based wines, she wants me to try these. I cannot find a specific recipe for
using bushel basket chrysanthemums (actually, I didn't find a recipe for any
chrysanthemums). Can you [help]?" Tony Tidwell, McNairy County, Tennessee


Chrysanthemums are a genus with several species and hundreds of varieties. Commonly called "mums" in the English-speaking world, they also go by their variety name, such as "coronation" for Chrysanthemum coronarium L. var. coronarium (not to be confused with the 'carnation,' or Dianthus caryophyllus ).

Chrysanthemums are without doubt non-poisonous and indeed are quite edible, having a slightly bitter, sometimes pungent flavor. But they are often listed among toxic plants because adverse effects are known to be associated with them among some people and if consumed in large quantities. The three adverse effects I am aware of are:

Having said that, let me add that most people will suffer none of these reactions from eating the flowers and fewer still will suffer from enjoying a glass of chrysanthemum wine. Most toxicity lists err on the side of caution, listing such staples as apples, apricots, and even mustard.

This wine is made from the petals of the flower only. The greenery is bitter and, as noted above, its sap can cause dematitis. The wine is best when finished semi-sweet (i.e. with a specific gravity around 1.004 to 1.007) and served chilled. Chrysanthemums can be blended with other flowers, such as calendulas, jasmines, lilacs, nasturiums, roses, or violets.


Remove the petals from the flowers. Bring 1 qt water to boil and stir in sugar until dissolved. Put flower petals, grape juice concentrate, acid, tannin, and yeast nutrient in primary. Pour boiling water over flower petals and cover primary. Let set 24 hours and strain, discarding flowers and returning liquid to primary, Add remaining water and activated yeast. When vigorous fermentation subsides, transfer to secondary and fit airlock. When all fermentation ceases, rack to sanitized secondary containing finely crushed Campden tablet, top up and attach airlock. When wine clears, rack again, top up and refit airlock. After 60 days, rack, stabilize, top up, and refit airlock. After additional 60 days, rack only if sediment warrants, sweeten to taste, and bottle wine. Allow 3 months before tasting. Will improve for about 1 year, then should be consumed. [Author's own recipe]

My thanks to Tony Tidwell of McNairy County Tennessee for this request.

This page was updated December 20th 2002

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