Ah, the humble dandelion.
In our modern times of monoculture lawns and yards, it now plays the part of the unwanted villain. But before the king decided that lawns were a sign of wealth, people grew dandelions for its many uses. Every part of the dandelion is edible. The young greens can be used in salads. The roots can be brewed into tea or roasted and ground for a coffee substitute. It has a fantastic nutrient profile.
And of course, last but not least, those cheery yellow blossoms that greet us in early spring when other plants are still waking up from their long winter’s nap can give us the sweetest treat of all.
By harvesting those bright little blooms, you can make a syrup that tastes close to honey but has its own unique flavor profile. In this recipe, I added an apple and a lemon to punch up the fruitiness and brightness. There’s lots of different recipes out there, and feel free to mix it up a bit. I bet some fresh herbs like lemon balm or mint would be good too. Maybe I’ll try it on my next batch!
It’s best to pick your flowers earlier in the day before the ants and critters are on the go. I pop off the flower heads and pull out the petals as I go. If you grasp the green base of the flower with your finger and thumbnail, you can tug away the petals with your other hand easily.
Once you have all of your petals, combine them with the water, apple, lemon and a pinch of salt, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Steep for at least six hours before straining through cheesecloth or a tea towel and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. I let my brew steep overnight. Then add the elixir to a fresh pot with sugar and gently stir on medium heat until it simmers, then turn to low. How long to cook? Depends on how thick you want your honey. I went with one hour and once mine had cooled off, it had a nice honey like consistency. I think the pectin in the apple and lemon helps with the thickness.
- 4 cups dandelion petals
- 4 cups water
- 1 apple cored and chopped
- 1 lemon sliced
- pinch of salt
- 3 cups sugar
- Combine all ingredients except the sugar in a pot and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Let the brew steep at least six hours, preferably overnight.
- Pour brew through a cheesecloth or tea towel and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. I ended up with about 3 1/2 cups.
- Combine the liquid with sugar and bring to a low simmer. Watch your honey, give it a stir occasionally and keep it to a very low simmer. Cook for one hour and let cool. Put into jars or whatever storage items you want. Enjoy on toast, in your tea, cereal, or by the spoonful!
Tangy, earthy, floral, fruity, sweet; those are just a few descriptions I can think of for this complex dandelion honey. It has a very unique flavor that’s hard to describe. Can you believe you can make such a delightful syrup from the humble dandelion? So next time you see that “weed”, give it a smile and know how sweet those yellow blossoms can be!
Next week we’ll be visiting the dandelion’s neighbor, the violet. Stay tuned.
Have you ever made dandelion honey before? Let me know what you think and feel free to ask any questions!