Sunday, 29 May 2016

How To Make Dandelion Syrup

I have started a new challenge! To eat at least some foraged food every day.

So far I have mostly eaten ground elder and dandelions, and today I have experimented with a new recipe that I have been wanting to try out for a while:
Dandelion syrup.


You need:
Approx. 190 ml water
50 dandelions (just the yellow flower head)
1 lemon
(Of course you can double, triple or quadruple the recipe if you want to make more.)

The original recipe that can be found online also uses sugar and less lemon. I guess you need to use this if you want to keep the syrup for a much longer time (you can keep it in glass jars, prepared in the same way as when you would make jam or compote).

The original recipe uses:
400 dandelions
2 lemons
2 kg sugar
1,5 liter water 


Pick 50 dandelion flower heads (with as little stem as possible, because that part doesn’t taste very well). Make sure you leave some flowers intact so that they get the chance to spread their seeds again and come back next year. Pick in several different places if necessary. Also make sure you check for insects directly underneath the flower before you pick them, because it’s a favorite spot for all sorts of critters and we don’t want to squash any of them. You will find quite a lot of ladybugs, tiny spiders and other creatures there (on the entire plant, but especially underneath the flower top). If you check them for critters while you are picking (and you pick them from a clean place; e.g. not the side of a busy road) you don’t need to wash them, and that way they also keep more of the valuable stuff, like pollen.

For the next steps, here’s what I did:
Boil approximately190 ml of water; then add the flower tops. Add the juice of one very small lemon (or half or a quarter of a bigger lemon).Turn off the heat and cover the pan with a lid. Let it sit for 1,5 hours.
Strain and enjoy! For a thicker syrup it needs to boil a bit longer and you need more flowers.

If you don’t like heating your food and want to avoid the loss of vitamins, you can also just add the ingredients to warm water and let it sit for 24 hours, although it could be that some nutrients of the flower don’t dissolve so well into the liquid if it is not heated, but I guess the different recipes can be used for different purposes.

The syrup, when ready, smells sweet, with a hint of sour and bitter at the same time. If you want to get rid of the bitterness, you need to make sure that there are no green bits left at all on the dandelion parts. However, this is very hard to do without them all falling apart, and it is a lot of extra work. Plus there are many valuable nutrients in the green parts of the plant as well.

Dandelion is supposedly good for the liver and the digestive system. It can be used for skin disorders and as a blood cleanser. The syrup is a good immunity booster and can be used to treat or prevent colds. But don’t take my word for it (or the Internet’s); experiment and discover for yourself what dandelion syrup can do for you. At the very least it tastes really good, and it’s all natural (if you don’t add the sugar)!

Note about the taste:

If you are not used to bitter/sour tastes, you might want to start off with adding at least some sugar or honey, because without it, it may taste a bit sour/bitter. Personally I still liked it like that (and even better when slightly diluted with water). You could also replace the sugar with honey, so that you get the syrupy consistency. If you leave out sugar the consistency is more like tea, but you will get more of the health benefits.

Enjoy nature's treasures!

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