Wednesday, April 27, 2011
I cannot believe I had never heard of dandelion honey! Someone over on the goddess circle mentioned it and after sending me her recipe (a non recipe and in metric measurements) it looked so simple, I figured even I could make it.
The fun part was gathering all the dandelion heads. Cowgirl and I headed out with a big bowl to a nearby field and quickly filled it with dandelion flowers. They pluck right off (you do not want any of the stem or leaves as they will make the honey bitter) and stain your hands a lovely golden shade.
I rinsed them thoroughly, trying to get rid of any bugs (but one did scurry to the top of the pot), and then dumped them into a large kettle and covered them with water. My directions specified around 1 to 1.5 liters but I probably added 2 1/2 to 3 cups of water. (I was almost finished when I realized I could check online for a recipe with more precise measurements - although it was fun converting kilos to pounds, then pounds of sugar to cups. The online recipe calls for 4 cups dandelion heads and 4 cups water.) I sliced up one lemon and added to the pot. Then I brought it to a boil and simmered for a half hour, after which I took the pot off of the heat, put the lid on and let it sit for 24 hours.
The next day I strained the mixture through a fine sieve (cheesecloth or tea towel I was told; the sieve worked fine) and had a lovely golden liquid remaining. I put that back in the kettle and added - yikes! - 2 cups of sugar (the online recipe calls for 2 1/8 cups) and then sat back and cooked the dickens out of it! I brought it to a slow boil, stirring occasionally (I have a gas burner) while waiting for it to become viscous as honey. After a couple of hours of cooking, I finally found the above mentioned recipe that noted the transformation from yellow sugar water into honey could take up to four hours ... which it did.
Once I got it to a honey-like consistency, I poured it into glass jars (my batch filled 2 normal size jars) which should keep for at least a year. Not that mine will last that long. I am enjoying it in my tea, on my yogurt and in my morning "tonic" drink. It has a lemon flavor to it that I like, although I can see why the recipe I didn't use calls for a vanilla bean.
There you have it - easy peasy dandelion sweetie honey! And barely a dent in the dandelion flower population.