04 May 2009

Got some weed?

Ah, 'tis spring and a young woman's thoughts turn to...dandelions.

All right, for the record, I'm not entirely opposed to dandelions. They have a lot of medicinal and culinary uses, and they're cheery-looking and kind of fun, unlike most other weeds. But as anyone with a lawn knows, they're a fairly major pain in the neck to deal with. And unless you're one of those people who think throwing toxins at unwanted greenery is a good idea, you will have to deal with them. If you happen to like the serene calm of a swath of lawn the last thing you want to see are the saw-toothed clumps of dandelions marring it. Not to mention they spread faster than the popularity of insipid boy bands through an all-girl middle school.

As I was digging masses of Taraxacum officinale out of my yard this morning, I suddenly remembered one of the more-pleasant things one can do with this plant: dandelion syrup. All you need is a decent amount of clean flowers, water, and sugar. I can't remember where I originally found this recipe (I think it might have been way back in the days of BBS yore), so if it happens to be yours speak up and get credit.

If life hands you dandelions, go make some syrup (and maybe a tasty salad with the greens).

Dandelion Flower Syrup

fresh-picked dandelion flowers (do not pick from roadsides or any place that was sprayed with pesticides)

Pick as many dandelion flowers as possible. Pour flowers onto a sheet of newspaper in the shade to give bugs a chance to leave. After 15-20 minutes, remove all green parts from flowers (warning: will stain). Twisting off the stems works fairly well. Do not leave even a tiny bit of green. At this point, you can store the flowers in a bowl in the fridge for 1-3 days.

Pour flowers into a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and boil for some time. Pour through a sieve and discard flowers. Add more fresh flowers to the same water and repeat process until no flowers are left. Next, add 1 part sugar (by weight) to 1 part water (by whatever measure you choose). Sugar may need to be adjusted. Boil on low heat until you get a syrupy consistency. Watch carefully to prevent burning.

Pour into sterilized jars/bottles. Syrup will crystallize if kept in the fridge long, but will stay fluid in the freezer.

Use over fruit, pancakes, waffles, cereal, oatmeal, ice cream, desserts, in tea and anywhere else you'd like. I won't judge ;)

1 comment:

bella said...

I hadn't thought of it, but syrup sounds interesting. I've done a pretty thorough job out front and on the side, but my back yard is beyond all efforts I fear. After a series of complaining editorials (long story), our local paper even ran a story explaining why the dandelions are so prolific this year and advising people to just wait them out until June when they die out.