Dandelion honey is easy to prepare, tasty and vegan. The supposed weed dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) gives the syrup a special flavor when cooking. Here is how you can easily make dandelion honey yourself. In addition, there are two great recipes for you, one with sugar and one without.
What is dandelion honey?
Dandelion honey is not actual honey, but a honey substitute made from dandelion flowers and, depending on the recipe, sugar or sugar substitutes. Since no animals are involved in the process, it is vegan. Strictly speaking, the sweet spread is thickened dandelion syrup, which is a concentrated sugar solution with the flavors from the dandelion flower added. “Honey” is the name given to the spread because of its golden color, sweet taste and honey-like consistency. In trade, however, the term “honey” is strictly protected as a beekeeping product. There, the spread may only be sold as “dandelion syrup“.
In a nutshell: Make dandelion honey yourself – how to do it
Dandelion honey is made from the flowers of the dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). To make it, steep the fresh dandelion flowers in water for a few hours. Then strain and boil with fresh water and a sliced lemon. Adding sugar makes the mixture gel, so that it resembles bee honey. Boil down until the desired consistency is reached. Afterwards, the syrup is filtered and poured into sterile jars. Dandelion honey can be used as a sweetener, baking ingredient or spread on bread.
Is dandelion honey real honey?
Dandelion honey is a plant-based alternative to bee honey. Classic honey is produced by honeybees from the nectar of flowers or from honeydew, a sugary excretion of insects that suck on plants. Only honey produced by bees may legally be called such.
However, pure blossom honey from dandelions produced by bees is extremely rare. It is true that the bright flower heads of the dandelion are an important food source for bees in spring. However, they have to visit over 100,000 plants to produce just one kilogram of the golden-yellow dandelion honey. In addition, many other plants whose nectar is collected are already in bloom at this time. The honey produced from them would usually not be pure in variety.
Popularly, the term “dandelion honey” refers to a honey substitute made from the fresh flowers of the dandelion with sugar and lemon. The syrupy to jelly-like consistency of the “honey” is obtained by boiling it down for a long time and then letting it stand. So anyone who buys dandelion honey, for example, at the market, must know that it is not bee honey.
Harvest dandelion properly
The dandelion’s golden-yellow flower heads open in spring, usually in April and May. They give off a slightly honey-like odor. Only pick dandelion flowers away from busy roads. Ideally, pick the flowers in your own garden or a meadow away from traffic and other pollution. It’s best to harvest dandelions on a sunny day at midday. That’s when the flowers are fully open and there are few insects hiding in them. Use the dandelion flowers as fresh as possible. If you want the dandelion honey to be especially fine, remove the green calyxes before cooking. You can also cook the green part, but then the syrup may be slightly bitter.
Recipe: Make dandelion honey yourself
Ingredients for 4 to 5 glasses of 250 ml each
- 200-300 grams of fresh dandelion flowers
- 1 organic lemon
- 1 liter of water
- 1 kilogram of raw cane sugar
Wash dandelion flowers well with cold water and place in a large pot. Thoroughly rinse the organic lemon, cut it into thin slices along with the peel and remove all seeds.
Add one liter of cold water and the lemon slices to the flowers in the pot and let everything steep for one to two hours. The lemon not only has a preservative effect, but is also crucial for the taste of the dandelion honey. Without it, the spread tastes rather stale. Then boil the whole thing for about 15 minutes. Then leave to infuse for a few hours, preferably overnight, covered.
The next day, pour the mixture through a filter or gauze cloth so that the flowers are filtered out. Simmer the collected liquid with the sugar at a gentle heat for about two to four hours. Stir occasionally until the dandelion honey becomes viscous.
Make a jelly test to find out the right consistency of the syrup. To do this, drizzle a teaspoon of the mixture onto a cold plate. When the liquid starts to thicken, like a jam, the consistency is perfect. The honey should flow softly from the spoon, and the last drop should still hang a little.
Pour the finished dandelion honey into well rinsed and dried jars and seal immediately. Finally, label with bottling date. Sometimes dandelion syrup crystallizes over time and becomes solid. However, this does not change the quality. By warming it slightly, it becomes liquid again. If you store the honey substitute as cool, dry and dark as possible, it will keep for about a year.
Variation on the recipe:
If you cook a small stalk of angelica with it, the dandelion honey gets a particularly fine aroma.
Recipe: Dandelion honey without sugar
If you prefer to use an alternative sweetener instead of granulated sugar, you can modify the basic recipe and use agave syrup or maple sirup instead. The other ingredients (dandelion flowers, water, lemon) remain the same.
For this recipe, instead of one kilogram of sugar, they need about twelve tablespoons of agave or maple syrup. To maintain the honey-like consistency, it can be helpful to add a vegan gelling agent in addition to the syrup. You will find the correct dosage on the packaging. Sometimes birch sugar (xylitol) is also used as a sugar substitute for boiling down dandelion flowers.
How to eat dandelion honey?
Dandelion honey not only tastes like bee honey, it can also be used in the same way. The vegan alternative is suitable as a spread on bread or pastries. You can also refine mueslis, desserts or fruit salads with it. Salad dressings get a fine note with the vegan honey. In addition, dandelion honey has proven to sweeten lemonade or tea.
Dandelion: medicinal plant or weed?
Dandelion is anything but just a weed, as it is often referred to. The plant from the daisy family with the golden-yellow flower heads was not recognized as a medicinal plant for a long time.
In fact, however, dandelion is extremely versatile and rich in effective ingredients: The plant contains bitter substances that stimulate appetite, gastric juice secretion and bile flow. Also, flavonoids and carotenoids. These substances are among the antioxidants that protect the body’s cells from free radicals. In addition, there are abundant vitamins and minerals.
How else can you use dandelion in the kitchen?
In addition to the flowers, the dandelion leaves and buds are also used in the kitchen for all kinds of recipes. For example, very young dandelion buds can be sautéed with a finely chopped onion, seasoned with herb salt and pepper, and used as a salad topping or bread topping. The tender young leaves of the dandelion, which contain a lot of vitamin C, are well suited for a wild herb salad. Flowers and leaves can be used for a healthy tea.