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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dandelion Syrup

This is something I've wanted to make for a long time. Since my HE was going to savagely mow down the remaining Dandelion blossoms, I decided it was now or never, so Sunday I spent a good 40 minutes picking Dandelion flowers.

All parts of the Dandelion plant are edible. Although, if you say that to most kids (and adults) today, they would probably cringe at the thought of eating a weed.

But a weed it is not!

Cultivated around the world and in European kitchen gardens, they were first brought here by early settlers and not a part of the plant was wasted.

Dandelion leaves contain Vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium,
potassium, iron, and manganese.

There are a lot of medicinal and cosmetic uses for Dandelions as well. Many books contain recipes and suggestions (any good herb book) and a simple Google search will yield a plethora of links.

Learn more about Dandelions here.

[5/15 - recently posted this great article about Dandelions.]

Growing up, our adored grandmotherly neighbor gathered Dandelion greens and flowers regularly to make a Dandelion salad. An acquired taste, I found it to be quite bitter. She would make it all summer, but the best time would be spring when the leaves were young and the bitterness was not as strong.

The roots can also be dried, ground and brewed as a coffee substitute. Intriguing, maybe I will give it a try, but being the big coffee drinker that I am, I'm thinking it may be more of an alternative than a substitute.

I must say, I was not sure what the end product would yield. But now I am kicking myself for not making this sooner.

The taste is earthy, sweet, with a hint of vanilla,
and very much like honey.

So much like honey, the Jelly Bean thought that's what I gave her to try.

Recipes for Dandelion syrup vary greatly. You really can't go wrong. If you are going to can this syrup, then pay attention to quantities of water, sugar and lemon juice in the recipe below.

I decided that boiling the flowers (a step in most recipes) was not necessary, and that a good steeping would be sufficient and hopefully retain more of the nutritional benefits. I also did not remove the green sepals, and just left the blossoms intact. Some recipes note that if you do not remove them, your syrup will be bitter, this is not the case.

This recipe makes a small amount, almost two full pint jars. Kept in a clean sterile jar, refrigeration for an extended period should be fine.

After reading several recipes, I decided to base my recipe on the Violet Syrup recipe I used. Here are a few other blogs featuring variations on the recipe:

Dandelion Syrup
[printer friendly]

  • 4 cups (1 quart) Dandelion blossoms, tightly packed
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 lbs organic cane sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon (or more to equal 1/4 cup if you are going to can the syrup)
  • 2 cups of water

Sort and gently rinse the dandelions to remove any bugs, place in glass jar, bowl or measuring cup.

Boil 2 cups of water, pour over flowers, gently push flowers down to submerge.

Cover and set aside on the counter to steep for 24 hours.

Drain and gently squeeze remaining liquid out of flowers. Liquid should equal 2 cups.

Pour into pan and add, remaining 2 cups of water (or more to equal 4 cups), sugar and lemon juice.

Stir well and bring to boil over medium high heat.

Reduce heat and simmer for about one hour or until frothy bubbles appear on top.

Pour into sterile jars and refrigerate.

FEB 2012: After much discussion with Marisa over at Food In Jars, we've come to a unanimous agreement that floral syrups should not be canned.

It is common practice with many bloggers to water bath process them and that is where I originally first started to do so. But the FDA does not offer any recommendations for floral syrups.

The reason for this advisement is that after 6 months I noticed major changes in my processed jars. There were 'colonies' of 'something' growing. Neither of us were able to determine what exactly it was but it was every single jar of both Violet and Dandelion Syrups had something growing in them.

There was no off-gassing or expansion, bubbling, or off-odor, but it almost looked like the 'mother' you would find in cider vinegar and kombucha.

Without testing there is no way to know, but it seemed to resemble a fungus of some sort. Possibly something that was on the flowers.  Both types of floral syrups seemed to grow different 'colonies'. I canned several different batches over a period of one month, all from flowers from my own yard, and all but two jars had something growing.

I have been growing, making and preserving my own foods for a very long time and have not seen this before.

So, if you are going to can these types of syrups I would advise against doing so, but if you decide to, I would use them in short order.

It's my feeling that it is best to refrigerate floral syrups in sterile jars.

  • Only use flowers from areas not treated with chemicals or pesticides, or along the roadside where they are subject to pollutants.
  • Aim to pick newly open flowers, which will be much sweeter, than those close to going to seed. But I picked some that were closing to get enough and the taste is still superb.
  • This makes a very thick syrup. Very much like the consistency of honey. Heated up it becomes quite fluid.
  • Serve over pancakes, french toast, oatmeal, or use to sweeten iced teas.


Jennifer said...

THIS I want to try! We have a dandelion farm out there. :-)

cmv... said...

Jen, you won't be disappointed! I'm making more next time we have another mass blooming.

dirty hippy said...

Ok, guess we'll be picking dandelions for syrup instead of wine this time :-)I like it when you share, thanks. I prefer trying things someone I know has made...rather than trying to choose from a million on the web.

dirty hippy said...

I'm sure we have dandelions to share if you need more, as of yesterday we still have violets too.

cmv... said...

LOL... how is the wine coming along? i can't believe you still have violets. i've wiped ours out. our yard is pretty big, so by the weekend i should have plenty more dandelions. this syrup will be great this winter on pancakes. :]

WiccanWear said...

I wonder about freezing it then sealing it in a food saver type air tight bag and deep freezing. Deep freezing is often a good way to kill any growths that would otherwise develop

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