Here at Dandydill Way we are very fond of dandelions. Never a weed (really just a plant growing in the wrong place!) their beautiful flowers are a welcome burst of sunshine yellow that attract insects and bees. Even keen gardeners have started to embrace them in meadow lawns to attract wildlife and introduce colour. They have a surprising variety of culinary uses and late spring is the best time to get outdoors and forage for them.
Dandelion roots are often used as an ingredient in natural, caffeine free coffee substitutes. Dried, roasted and ground, they have a nutty and pleasantly bitter taste that strongly resembles coffee. But did you know that you can make a delicious vegan honey by steeping the flowers and adding to a simple syrup?
Children will love helping you make this tasty sweet treat and the best fun will be collecting the star ingredient! Make sure you choose a suitable location away from the roadside, fields where farmers may have sprayed chemicals and where dogs are walked.
For vegan dandelion honey you just need the flowers. If you are tempted to try home made dandelion coffee you'll need the whole tap root which is easier to harvest after rain has fallen and the earth is soft.
Pick fresh looking, fully open flowers. They open during the day and close at night so morning is when they're at their best. About 10 flowers will be enough for one jar.
Washing them removes the pollen but if you prefer not to rinse, just leave the flowers aside for a few minutes to allow any insects to escape!
Always take care when handling hot syrup, it will retain heat so don’t try to seal the jar until it feels cool to the touch. Keep eager little hands well away until the syrup has completely cooled.
Fragrant, golden and delicious, this bee friendly vegan honey can be enjoyed drizzled over ice cream, stirred into natural yogurt, as a flavoursome substitute for sugar in baking or simply spread on toast. Enjoy!