Some of our local fields are a picture at the moment with carpets of Dandelions. They are an opportunity not to miss, plentiful and nearby. In your garden you might view them as a troublesome weed. The Victorians, however, cultivated them, with the leaves eaten by the wealthy in sandwiches and salads. I once met a young girl on one of our foraging courses who was in her element grazing on the leaves, preferring them to chocolate or sweets. Foragers will make use of almost every part of the Dandelion – roots (land owner consent required to dig up ANY wild plant), leaves and flowers. In this post we look at some Dandelion flower recipes and uses. Among the uses are:
- Dandelion Syrup – (recipe below)
- Dandelion Drizzle Cake – (recipe below)
- Dandelion Fritters
- First Flower Champagne
- Dandelion Bhajis
- Dandelion Jam / Marmalade
- Dandelion (Dandy) Brandy
- Dandelion Wine
Search online for recipes for the other suggestions.
Clip on Dandelions from the BBC Series Flora Brittanica.
- Pick on dry sunny day so the flowers are open and not wet.
- People with sensitive skin may get contact dermatitis when touching the latex.
- Your finger tips will go yellow, looking like you have a 40-a -day smoking habit!
- Remove any stem you pick with the flowers as you go (saves time later!)
- Pick a few here and a few there as they an early pollen source for bees and other insects.
The below recipe is taken from John Wright’s excellent River Cottage Handbook No 7 – Hedgerow. You can buy at a great price this here. Pick about a litre of flowers
Dandelion Drizzle Cake
A wild twist on the classic lemon drizzle cake combining the lovely flavour of dandelions with orange. Adapted from the lemon drizzle cake recipe in Pam Corbin’s excellent River Cottage Handbook No 8 – Cakes.
Preparation and cooking time – c. 1 hour
For the cake
- 175 g self-raising flour, sifted
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 175g caster sugar
- 175g unsalted butter cut into small pieces and softened
- Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
- 3 eggs
- Petals from approx. 12 dandelions (remove all of the green parts).
For the drizzle
- Dandelion Syrup
- 18cm round or 15 cm square tin, greased and lined with baking parchment, or a 1 litre loaf tin, approx. 20 x 10cm, greased, base and long sides lined with parchment.
- Cake cooling rack
- Preheat the oven to 180oC/Gas mark 4.
- Sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl.
- Add all the other cake ingredients and beat for about 1½ minutes, until you have a smooth think batter.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, levelling out the surface with the back of a spoon.
- Bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until the surface is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Leave in the tin for about 10 minutes before turning out and placing on a wire rack.
- Prick the surface of the cake all over with a skewer and carefully drizzle the Dandelion Syrup over the surface, a spoonful at a time, ensuring each addition has soaked in before spooning over the next.
- The cake can be cooled fully or is delicious when still slightly warm. Serve with a little Dandelion Syrup infused natural yoghurt on the side.