Wednesday, 21 May 2008

the taste of honey

The whole country- side was golden yellow with humble dandelions like huge, thick, sunny carpets in the last few weeks. While gardeners might hate is as a weed, when seen en mass like that it is a truly fabulous sight to behold. So to celebrate it, here is a recipe that elevates the dandelion to a nectar fit for the gods :-)
Pick your dandelions on a sunny day, around midday when they are at their most open. Put dandelion heads (as many as you feel like collecting) in a container with unpeeled lemon slices and cover with boiling water. Stir and leave covered for 24 hrs or so. Strain and squeeze the result through muslin, add brown sugar to taste, and bring to boil. Immediately turn the heat down and simmer as gently as you may for up to 1/2 hr. Pour into sterilised bottles.
As you can see, I am not giving you quantities - you can make the syrup as thick or thin as you wish. In any form, it is a healthy, indeed healing, nectar, smelling of honey and pollen, in fact it smells like the meadow you picked it at, always reminding you of the sunny day you gathered the flowers.
And for those who like their tipple a little fermented,
Soak the dandelion heads so there are 1/3 dandelions to 2/3 water, with sliced lemon and a generous helping of sugar to help the fermentation process, and leave for around three days in a covered container. When the mixture begins to slightly fizz, pass it through muslin (don't boil your concoction) and bottle it in plastic bottles with the lid not entirely tightly screwed on. Leave in a dark cool(ish) place for about three weeks. Then drink, or screw the bottle tops tightly and place in the fridge for later use.
Enjoy :-)
(By the way this 'champagne' recipe works equally well with elderflowers)

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