“If dandelions were hard to grow, they would be most welcome on any lawn.”
~ Andrew Mason
I’ve dedicated this year to learning about herbs and how to use them. I am certain that I will now be spending the rest of my life on this journey. I’m hooked. As I’ve learned to identify beneficial herbs, I’m thoroughly amazed at the varieties available to anyone with eyes to see. They grow freely along roads and trails and all over my very own property. Perhaps the herb I’ve been most delighted to “discover” has been the ubiquitous dandelion.
All parts of the dandelion are highly nutritions. Dandelions greens are packed with vitamins and minerals A, C, K, E. Folate, iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Dandelion root is full of inulin, a soluble fiber. The flowers are high in anti-oxidants and are suspected to help bodies deal with a host of maladies from inflammation to high cholesterol.
A fellow homesteader whom I enjoy following on Instagram shared with me a link for dandelion syrup. I looked at a few different recipes online, played around with them, and came up with my own version that I want to share with you. The syrup has such a unique flavor… earthy, but sweet. I found it an incredibly delicious addition to iced coffee and iced tea. It can be poured over waffles or pancakes or used to flavor baked goods. Best of all, this prolific flower is free and available to anyone who will take the time to harvest it. Make sure that it is growing in a place free from fertilizer or other chemicals.
First, pick a bowl-full-of-sunshine:
Next, make Dandelion Tea;
Follow the recipe below to turn your tea into a quart of Dandelion Syrup:
- 3 cups dandelion petals
- 6 cups water
- 4 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice bottled or fresh squeezed
- Harvest petals, pulling them from the green base, which is bitter. I find it easiest to pull them out as I harvest. But if kids are helping, snapping heads off first and then pulling petals out while in the kitchen might be easiest.
- Make dandelion tea! Put petals in pot, add water, and bring to a boil. Simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat and steep for 6-8 hours. (Since I'm a more-is-more gal, I tried steeping for 24 hours, but found it caused a bitter note. In this case, less IS more.)
- Strain tea through mesh strainer. Squeeze petals to get all of that anti-oxidant goodness out.
- Add strained liquid to pot and add sugar. Bring to boil, lower heat, and simmer for 1 hour or until thick and syrupy.
- Cool to room temperature and add lemon juice.(I think adding lemon juice at the end retains the citrus flavor better than adding it first and boiling it off.) After cooled, pour into glass jars. It will store for several months in the fridge or can be water-bath canned as a syrup.
It seems serendipitous that as I’ve discovered the joys of dandelions this summer, my bookclub’s summer read is the delightful, nostalgic, Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury, which thoroughly honors and extols this humble flower.
“Every year,” said Grandfather. “They run amuck; I let them. Pride of lions in the yard. Stare, and they burn a hole in your retina. A common flower, a weed that no one sees, yes. But for us, a noble thing, the dandelion.”
~ Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine