Saturday, 5 May 2012

Recipe LVI - Dandelion Syrup

It's been raining all week here. I had a window of one day in which to cut the grass. That was a week ago, so the grass is once again overgrown and dandelions rule the land. Here's a recipe so simple and so immensely satisfying that you'll be picking up your bucket and heading to the garden to exact retribution on all those yellow vermin that keep springing up on your ruined lawn.

150 dandelion heads
1 bag of sugar
1 lemon
+/- 400ml of water

Go into your garden or to the local park and deadhead 150 dandelions, making quite sure you're doing it in an area where no dogs/cats could have left a message there.

Squeeze one lemon into a large saucepan, then add about 400ml of water. Put your dandelion heads into it, give it a good drowning with a kitchen implement and bring to the boil, keeping a lid on the saucepan for the whole time. Once boiling, reduce the flame and allow to simmer for between 60 and 90 minutes.

Take it off the heat and leave it overnight with the lid on (to stop insects flying into it). The next day, take a strainer and a large measuring jug and strain the dandelions out of the liquid. You will not get everything out. With a potato masher, crush the remaining liquid out of the dandelions. You will be surprised how much is still to come out. It is also important as this contains a lot of the flavour.

In the end, I got about 350ml-400ml of juice from it.

Put it into a clean (smaller) saucepan. It is important to measure how much liquid you have, because you need double the amount of sugar to add to it.
Sugar 2:1 Liquid

Bring the mixture to the boil once more, for between 20 and 40 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is clear. During this time, you could wash up three or four jars. I always keep a lot of mine in case they come in handy. This recipe is an ideal gift for a neighbour or friend.

TIP: Dandelion syrup is an ideal accompaniment for the following things:
Brie baguette/sandwich (with hazelnuts and watercress or rocket salad)
Drizzled over the skin of roast belly of pork
Added to your vinaigrette as a sweetener
A topping/filling for numerous tarts and cakes
In a cup of black tea as a sweetener
A soother for a cold or sore throat (with hot water)

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