This is a really simple way to enter in to the world of preserve making and is made from foraged dandelions, offering a vegan version of honey. The finished result is sweet and has a fragrant flavour, useful to use as a honey substitute in baking recipes and in things like salad dressings and marinades or added to toast and porridge. The applications are endless.
Begin by harvesting your dandelions on a sunny day when they’re in full bloom. You will need at least two cups full. Make sure to only take what you need and leave some for the bees and bugs. Head to the middle of a field and have a wander off the beaten track to avoid any pollutants.
- A litre jug of water
- A litre jug of dandelions
- Half a lemon
- 500g sugar
Give all your dandelions a good shake to remove bugs and trim away any stem and leaves before adding them to a saucepan of water. Do not soak in water as this removes the pollen and that’s where the flavour is.
Add your slices of lemon and vanilla pods and slowly bring to the boil before simmering for 20 – 30 minutes. Then you have to leave this mixture to infuse – cover and put aside overnight, or for at least eight hours in a cool place.
Strain your mixture through a sieve and then again through a Muslin cloth and throw away all the bits as these are no longer needed. Then add the liquid back to a saucepan and slowly bring up to a boil.
Add in your sugar and stir constantly until it all dissolves, let it simmer for a while to reduce down, it should still be quite runny in texture. I drip a little on to a cold plate and let it set to decide when I’m ready, and then I add to a sterilised jar, cool it down and then store in the fridge.
Dandelion honey is runnier than traditional honey and has a unique flavour. You can vary the flavour by omitting vanilla, or infuse with different citrus fruits and home grown herbs. I’ve been adding this to my salad dressings and also in to plain yoghurts for a delicious summery essence.