After my previous post on dandelion tea, I thought I'd try a recipe using the flowers rather than the leaves. As ever, there are a million and one recipes for how to make it online, so I've cobbled my version together out of a few of them.
Pick as many flower heads as you can (ideally about 100) from a pesticide free area well away from roads. If you've got some in your garden, even better! Try to do this on a sunny day when the flowers are open. As ever when foraging, make sure you are absolutely sure what you're picking. There are some look-a-likes of dandelions, make sure you check exactly what you've found first. The one you're after has an unbranching hollow stem from a rosette of leaves.
Cut the ends off the flowers with a knife and remove the green sepals. They are edible, but they'll make the syrup more of a muddy colour. Put the petals in a sieve. This step takes a lot of patience, so don't hurry it. Probably best done outside with a nice glass of something summery.
Rinse the petals and add to a pan with just enough water to cover them. Turn on a low heat until it reaches boiling point, then remove from the heat, put a lid on and leave overnight to infuse. If you've not got time, you could simmer the petals for 20 minutes instead.
Strain the liquid and weigh it. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. Add the same weight of white sugar as liquid to your pan, and heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Continue simmering until the liquid becomes syrupy. This took about half an hour for me.
Pour into sterilised bottles or jars and keep any opened ones in the fridge.
You can use the syrup as a cordial, poured over pancakes or add hot water for a soothing drink. Apparently, you an also add some pectin and keep boiling the syrup to make dandelion jam. A project for another day!