I am sitting in the middle of our garden and watching the wonderland around me which seems to be a background painted by Disney background artists in the 1950’s for Snow White or Cinderella. Our cherry trees and apple trees have just started to bloom, the cherry plum tree and the elderflower bush have turned completely green. Unlike an English garden our lawn is not only green; maybe someone would say it is full of weed, I prefer saying it is a perfect village garden, dotted with yellow dandelions, white daisies and a little lilac flower which name I don’t know. In some places I can discover wild thyme, yarrow and clover between the blades of grass.
When I was a child, I loved dandelions and I didn’t stop loving them since then.
My attraction started maybe with one of my favourite books about a vain lion called Dandelion, who decided to create hisself the same fancy outfit as the lion he saw in a magazine: with a mane twisted by a hairdresser and a nice suit.
I can thank to dandelions my very first and maybe the only floral head wreath I have been ever wearing, that my mother made for me, once we visited the park called “Love island” in my home town Veszprém. That day belongs to one of my dearest memories when we were proudly running around the playground with my sister, swinging and climbing on logs with our beautiful headdresses.
I always loved and still do blowing dandelions, looking at them while the seeds like little parachutes fly away and wonder where they will finally land.
My father tough considered them as greatest enemies of the lawn and during our school holidays our task was to remove them with the roots with a sharp knife and keep our garden dandelion-free.
At that time I didn’t know what I know now, that dandelion can be eaten. Not only its leaves, but its root and even the flower are eatable and as a healing plant it also heals our body. When I read that honey can be made from its flowers I already knew that I have to make a blog post on this subject.
I have found different recipes of making dandelion honey, but mostly in foreign books. I suppose it was a commonly known and used knowledge which was taught by generation to generation, so since everybody was aware of the recipe, there was no need to write it down.
The Austrian herbalist Maria Treben, in her book on herbal medicine she pre-cooks the flowers, then soak them for a night and cooks very slowly the next day, so it most probably takes the whole day to get the honey ready. László Radics in his book “Cooking with plants from forest and fields” published in 1990 he skips the soaking process and doesn’t set exact cooking time, only that it needs to be cooked until a syrupy texture is achieved.
Finally I get some helpful informations from Gerda Holzmann’s book “Gesunde Wildkräuter aus meinem Garten” and I make my very first dandelion honey in my life.
At the end I fill glasses with a beautiful amber-coloured honey and I am amazed that the only thing I needed for it to go out to the garden and pick flowers in a basket in 30 minutes.
From now on, I will possibly love dandelions even more…
Watching them, blowing them, making head wreath from them… and most of all: eat them.
4 handfuls of dandelion flowers
2 litre water
750 g caster sugar
750 g cane sugar
juice of 2 lemons
Wash flowers in running water (do not soak them) and put them in a pot filled up with the water. Cook for 30 minutes after it has started boiling. Strain it, press flowers in order to remove the most liquid possible. Mix the liquid with sugar and lemon juice and cook for 2-3 hours, while stirring occasionally. Fill the syrup into glass jars while it is still hot and close it properly. Store in a dark and cool place.
My experiences with my very first dandelion honey
Important, that only pick flowers away from busy roads, and be sure that no pesticides will be used close by.
Gerda Holzmann has set 2 hours cooking time. I cooked them longer, approximately for 3 hours, because I was waiting for the syrupy consistency that László Radics promised, but that moment never arrived. Finally I filled it into glasses and as soon as it cooled down, it thickened to a honey-like texture.
Maria Treben used raw sugar, other recipes listed normal sugar. I decided to use raw sugar and caster sugar half and half.
You can use dandelion honey for spreading your bread, for breakfast, or as a refreshening drink by mixing it with water. For me it was too sweet, even though lemon juice was added to the syrup, so I made a drink with a bit of syrup, water and extra lemon juice. I recommend you to add a little bit of warm water to the syrup first, do dissolve it easily, then add some sparkling water, lemon juice and ice cubes. You can even place dandelion flowers in the ice cube tray and fill up with water in order to get flower ice cubes to brighten up your drinks!
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