I recently learned that the entire dandelion plant is edible not just the green leaf’s often heard about in salad, and they are extremely high in nutrients. Dandelion, except for the blossom, is a pretty bitter plant. When I saw this recipe for a dandelion blossom syrup (or ‘honey’ if you boil it down further) I knew I had to try it. Not only are dandelions healthy, but making a blossom syrup or honey means the dandelions can’t go to seed and multiply (though for us, there are plenty left to ensure we’ll have crop next year).
Before you jump out into your yard to get some dandelions to make this here are a few disclosures:
- This is labor intensive, and you will only end up with a small amount of liquid at the end.
- Don’t eat dandelions near the road, they are absorbing exhaust with each car that pasts.
- Don’t pick dandelions that have been treated with chemicals. If you are unsure, err on the side of caution. You don’t need boiled RoundUp syrup.
With disclosures aside and understood-this was completely worth it. This is so sweet and tasty in a completely different way than your traditional syrup. I liked it fine plain, but I liked it even more with orange in it.
The first step was collecting four cups of dandelion blossoms. This took about an hour in our back field, which I know isn’t treated with anything, to collect four fluffy cups.
You have to remove the green parts from around the blossom as they are bitter, and this bitterness will impart on your syrup. I’m not going to say this didn’t take a lot of time, it did. I used a pair of small rose pruners to snip the green off and then I hand peeled/picked the surrounding edge off of each one. Here’s a photo which explains it better.
Once you get all four cups, add them to four cups of cold water and stir. Bring to a boil for just about 3 minutes. Turn off, cover tightly and let steep for 12 hours.
After your 12 hour period, turn back on and boil for just a few more minutes. Then pour through a fine mesh strainer into a container, and press the blossom petals with the back of a rubber spatula to push a lot of the liquid out. I composted the mash to bring it all back full circle.
Rinse your pot out so there are no blossoms left behind and clean, and then pour your liquid back in. Now here is where I completely diverge from the recipe. It calls for four cups of sugar. This blows my mind. I understand for preservation purposes higher levels of sugar help but I am a huge fan of low added sugar jams and syrups. It just seems counter-intuitive to take something from nature and then destroy the beautiful flavor with mounds of sugar. So instead of four cups, I only added 3/4 of a cup of raw sugar. I plan on consuming this fairly soon, and refrigerating it, so I’m not concerned.
If you do not want to add any orange or lemon skip this step. If you do, simply slice your orange and place it in a wrapped cheesecloth or stock sock to steep as you boil this down. Every once and a while press on the oranges with a spatula to release the juices.
Now turn that baby on medium and let simmer for at least an hour. Stir every once in a while. Eventually you’ll see bubbles that look thick in the sense that they will be slower to rise to the top and will take longer to pop. This means you’re reaching syrup stage. As well a light syrup will easily pour off a spoon while leaving the spoon coated.
Just like with maple syrup, some people prefer a darker thicker syrup (dark amber) and some people prefer a lighter thinner syrup (light amber or fancy syrup). I’m somewhere between the lighter and middle category which you guessed it, is called medium amber. If you want it thicker though, keep on boiling and if you want it thinner, stop earlier. If you boil far enough it will turn into a super thick honey like consistency. If you want to go this route, I would suggest at least double or tripling this recipe. With four cups of liquid and blossoms, I ended up with approximately two cups of syrup for a more or less medium amber.
Once done, simply place in a glass container, or let cool fully before placing in a plastic container, and enjoy!
If you can’t beat em, eat em.
Happy Dandelion Hunting,