I know, every right-thinking gardener in America despises the lowly, obnoxious, invasive, wish-you-were-gone-forever dandelion. And then there’s me.
I’ve been singing the dandelion’s praises for some time now. Its leaves are rich in vitamin C. Its root can be roasted and brewed as a coffee substitute. It was brought here as a must-have plant by our early immigrants. It was a valued plant to them. And after today’s venture, the dandelion has gained a bit in my already high regard as well.
That’s because I’ve recently learned that its blossoms can be simmered into syrup. And a grand syrup it is, tasting very much like – honey.
I have, occasionally, when I’ve remembered to harvest them early enough, eaten dandelion greens. The plant’s leaves must be gathered in early spring before they bloom. It was a childhood custom in our family, eating dandelion greens each spring, and repeating that custom now brings back some lovely memories for me. But I never bothered with the root/coffee thing. The syrup, however, was a different matter. As soon as I learned about the syrup, I knew I wanted to make it.
It didn’t take me long – alas, dandelions like my yard – to gather up two cups worth of blossoms from the yard. (The full recipe calls for four cups of dandelion blossoms, but half of that amount is fine for me.) You then boil them and steep them over night. The next day, you drain and strain the mixture, add sugar and lemon juice, and in short order, you have a lovely syrup. The full recipe can be found here.
As the author says, be sure you collect your flowers from places where you know they’ve not been treated with chemicals. (The world is not what it once was.)
Tomorrow, I think I’ll make apple fritters and top them off with dandelion syrup. What fun.