In the couple of years I’ve been into foraging, one ingredient that continues to surprise me is the common dandelion. So far I’ve used it in curries, stews and soup. Today I want to share two recipes with you that I think are great and both are really easy!
Dandelion Honey - tweaked from a recipe taken from about.com
This is great, I was a little skeptical when I heard about this but the results are really good. You have to have a little patience with this one, it is time consuming going out to pick the dandelion heads so do it a nice sunny day off work! When you’ve collected all your dandelion heads then you have to pick off all the petals. (I did this with an episode of spooks on tv, other tv shows are available!) anyway, on with the recipe!
4 cups dandelion petals
4 cups water
3 (1/4-inch) thick slices lemon
1/2 vanilla bean, split in half (or vanilla essence)
2-1/8 cups granulated white sugar
Pick dandelion flowers during the daylight while in full bloom, remove petals, then measure petals only.
Place petals in a heavy saucepan along with the water, lemon slices, and vanilla bean. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep for 6 hours.
Strain dandelion tea through fine sieve and discard solids. Place in a heavy saucepan and bring to a low boil. Gradually add sugar while stirring until sugar is dissolved. Lower heat and let simmer to desired syrupy thickness, I was in a rush so went for a nice runny honey and simmered for 1.5 - 2hrs, if you want it thicker allow to simmer for longer!
Dandelion Honey is great on toast, muffins, pancakes, and biscuits.
Dandelion Pesto - taken from davidlebovotz.com
12 ounces (350g) washed and cleaned dandelion leaves
1 cup (250ml) olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled
6 tablespoons (40g) pine nuts, lightly toasted
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
2 1/2 ounces (70g) Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated
1. Put about one-third of the dandelion greens in the food processor or blender with the olive oil and chop for a minute, scraping down the sides. Add the remaining dandelion greens in two batches, until they’re all finely chopped up.
2. Add the garlic cloves, pine nuts, salt, and Parmesan, and process until everything is a smooth puree.
3. Taste, and add more salt if necessary. If it’s too thick, you can thin it with more olive oil or water.
With the dandelion leaf being bitter you should expect a slightly bitter flavour from the pesto, but it’s a nice bitter! And paired with the right things, you really don’t notice the bitterness at all!
Will keep in the fridge for 4 days or you can freeze for up to 2 months.