Are you sick of hearing me talk about dandelions yet? 😉 Well, I promise today’s post is really fun and exciting – we’re making syrup! You know, like for pancakes and waffles! I’d already been making my own syrup because that “Aunt Jemima” nonsense they sell at the store is just gross – it’s way too sweet, way too thick, and way too loaded with nasty artificial additives and preservatives. Blechh, it’s nasty just to think about it. Ok, happy thoughts, happy thoughts…
Ooh, I know! Dandelions! Pretty, bright, yellow, happy dandelions!
I’ve been wanting to make dandelion syrup since I wrote part 1 of my Dandelions: Friend or Foe series. It kept getting pushed back, but when I was out in the yard this week with Baby Y and saw that many of the dandelions had started to go to seed, I knew I had to act quickly to harvest what was left of the yellow flowers – and I knew exactly what I wanted to use them for!
Over 2 days, I gathered about 125 flowers. It sounds way more daunting than it really is; it went by very quickly actually.
I brought them inside and rinsed them under cold water and then laid them out to dry on a towel. I left them like that for a while, to be sure they were completely dry and that any bugs lurking inside the blooms were long gone (you can actually see them crawling away on the towel!).
Then, I removed the petals from the thick, green base. In part 2 of Dandelions: Friend or Foe, I showed how to remove the petals by squeezing and rolling them between your fingers. This time, I just took a small knife and cut as close to the green base as possible, which was much quicker and easier. You will get some small pieces of green leaves this way, but with a bad flare up of eczema on my fingertips, I was willing to take that risk and spare my poor hands.
Honestly, I didn’t even notice any bitterness from the little green pieces, so I’d say to go ahead and use the knife method for the petals every time. If you want to make the syrup at a later time (ie: not right after you cut the petals), you can throw them into an air-tight container and pop them in the freezer until you’re ready to use them. That’s what I did earlier this week with the first harvest.
Ok, enough about the prep work, let’s get to the sweet stuff! Bare in mind that this is a 2-day process, so if you want to use the syrup for tomorrow’s breakfast, you will have to start making it today!
Put the petals in a pot and cover them with water. Bring them to a rolling boil and let them boil for about 30 seconds to a minute. Then, remove them from the heat, cover, and steep the petals over night. You can either leave the pot in a cool spot in the kitchen, or put it in the fridge. I let the pot cool down a bit on the stove, then I put it in the fridge.
The next morning, you’ll strain the petals from the water over a small bowl. You can use a sieve, and press the petals with the back of a spoon to extract as much water as possible. For some reason, I don’t have a sieve ?! so I just lined a colander with some cheesecloth and squeezed the water out that way.
Return the strained water to the pot, add the sweetener and lemon (if using), and simmer, covered, on low heat until it’s thickened, stirring occasionally. I used 2 cups of sugar, which made a little thinner, but that’s the way I like it. The more sugar you use, the thicker the end result will be. Check the consistency after about an hour or hour and a half. Dip a spoon into the syrup, let it cool a bit, and test it with your finger. If it’s thick enough for your liking, just turn off the heat and let the syrup cool. That’s it – you’ve made dandelion syrup!
Most recipes call for white sugar, but we’ve phased out refined white sugar in this house, and only use limited amounts of organic cane sugar for baking and such. For our tea and coffee, we use raw honey, so I figured why not use both in the syrup! And I did. And it was amazing. 🙂 Now, for the lemon, I just left it out. I guess you could call me a purist, but I just didn’t want anything getting in the way of the sweet, subtle taste of the dandelions, so I opted out.
After the syrup has cooled down a bit, pour it into a glass jar or container of some sort, and make sure to store it in the fridge after use. I have a small syrup dispenser that I picked up a few years ago; I filled it up and kept the extra in an old, glass honey jar.
Mr. Nurture (yes, that’s what we’re calling ourselves now, thanks to The Old-Fashioned Housewife 😉 ) is coming back from a business trip tonight, so we’ll try this syrup over my whole-wheat banana chunk waffles tomorrow morning. But of course, that hasn’t stopped me from sampling it on its own in all its sweet, syrupy goodness. You know…for research, of course! 🙂
EDIT: Ok, I made the waffles the next morning, topped them with sliced strawberries and this syrup, and OMG! Best. Combo. Ever! Here’s a picture of the finished product! 🙂
|Homemade Dandelion Syrup||
- 125 dandelion flowers (about 1 1/2 cups of petals)
- 3 cups water
- 2 – 3 cups organic cane sugar (or sweetener of choice)
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup raw honey
- juice of half a lemon (optional)
- Wash flowers and dry on a towel. With a knife, cut off the petals as close to the base as possible.
- Put petals in a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to a rolling boil, and allow to boil for 30-60 seconds.
- Remove from heat, cover, and allow to steep overnight in a cool place. A cool counter or the fridge is ideal.
- Next morning, strain the liquid into a sieve over a bowl. Use the back of a spoon to squeeze out and extract as much liquid as possible.
- Return water to pot, add sugar and lemon, and simmer on low heat for 1-1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Check for desired consistency by dipping spoon into syrup, letting it cool a bit, then testing it with your finger.
- Store in an airtight, glass container in the fridge.
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