8 April 2014
The start of the long dandelion season is upon us and here is one way to make use of all those dabs of yellow in the edible landscape at the moment (be sure to harvest your dandelions in an area likely to be free of excess exhaust fumes, canine output or agricultural additives…)
This golden syrup with caramel overtones is really easy to make and in fact has a long history as a remedy for digestion problems and summer colds (dandelions, Taraxacum officinale, are packed full of vitamin A – four times as much as a head of lettuce, vitamin C, magnesium and flavonoids).
Prep. Time: about 30 minutes plus overnight infusing
Cooking time: about 25 minutes
Makes about 250 ml
Dandelion petals 100g (unwashed, and you need to pull the yellow petals apart so
that they are completely free of green bits)
Zest and juice from ¼ lemon (untreated)
1) Bring the 250ml of water to the boil, add the plucked dandelion petals, cover, remove from the heat and leave to infuse overnight.
2) Strain through a sieve, discarding the petals.
3) Do not be concerned that your infusion looks questionably green at this stage. Place the strained infusion in a saucepan together with the sugar and the juice and zest from an untreated lemon.
4) Over a low heat, stir until the sugar dissolves then increase the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
5) Once the liquid has become syrupy in consistency with a caramel aroma, remove from the heat and strain (do not discard the candied lemon zest left in the sieve – keep it to decorate a batch of dandelion syrup cupcakes or similar).
6) Bottle your dandelion syrup while hot, store in a cool, dark place and use to flavour yoghurt, muesli, cakes and desserts – or a glass of herbal tea if you feel you have a summer cold coming on…