Dandy flower syrup
It's easy to make a dandelion flower syrup.
So I've been making dandelion flower syrup (Taraxacum officinale) every few years for the last few decades. And I've always twisted the yellow parts out of the green parts of the flower, and made syrup from that, making sure that there are no green parts whatsoever among the yellow-and-white flowers.
But this year there was a dandy syrup discussion on forageahead, a mailing list for wild foods. And Rose Barlow of prodigalgardens.info said that she hasn't bothered to pick out the yellows from the greens for years, and that she likes the resulting syrup better that way: it has a deeper taste - and isn't bitter.
Hmm, thought I on reading that - but we didn't have dandelions then, cos we're up north. Now we have dandelions, and now I've made my usual dandy flower syrup (yellow parts into the bowl, green parts to the compost). And I've made a dandy flower syrup with whole flowerheads.
And the greens-included syrup isn't bitter. Woot, Rose, that's cool!
Dandelion syrup has a taste of nut and vanilla. It's not medicinal at all, it's just tasty. I use it in fruit salads, where most of my herbal syrups end up these days: I make a lot of syrups throughout the year, teaching, and can't always give all of them away.
The usual syrup recipe:
Put flowers (or twisted-out yellow parts) into a pot, cover with water, let boil for 15-30 minutes, strain out the flower parts. Pour your strong dandelion tea back into the washed-out pot and let sit on low low heat for as long as you can be bothered to wait (or until only 200 ml are left, if that by any chance comes first).
Measure out 200 ml liquid, add 450 g sugar to that. Freeze the rest of the liquid in 200 ml jars: you'll want to make some dandy flower syrup later on, after the dandy flower season is all gone.
Pour your sugared-up 200 ml back into the pot and let the sugar dissolve on medium high heat. If this takes a long time (and too much of the liquid evaporates) it's best to add 2-3 tablespoons of your reserved tea to your to-be-syrup.
Once the sugar has disappeared you have a golden (or a golden-cloudy) liquid. Mmmm, dandy flower syrup!
Pour into a glass jar, add a tight lid, and label: "dandy flower syrup 27 May 2006".
If this syrup happens to sit in a back corner of your fridge for a few years it turns quite honeylike in color, taste and feel. Lovely.