Vegan Dandelion “Honey”
Become a honey bee and make this delicious vegan alternative to honey made from dandelions! Get the recipe below.
An alternative to honey
I’ve been a member of a foraging group on Facebook since last summer. I’ve been foraging elderflowers, blackberries and other British plants for years but wanted to find out more about how to use the plants that grow all around us. Like most people my garden is filled with weeds at the start of spring and usually they get dug up and chucked on the compost. I knew I could probably put them to better use and so I turned to the experts to help me recognise what was and was not edible. It turns out dandelions, one of the most maligned weeds, are not just edible but they are delicious. They can be added to salads, roasted with veggies or used to infuse gin or vodka! Their bright yellow colour certainly perks up any dish or drink they are added to! But one of the most miraculous uses for dandelions is making a sweet syrup that is known as “Dandelion Honey”. Best of all, it’s vegan so can be enjoyed by anyone following a plant based diet!
Of course with any recipe that involves foraged ingredients its super important to make sure you leave enough for the bees, pollen beetles, butterflies and moths that call the dandelions breakfast, lunch and dinner. You see we may think of dandelions as weeds but they are an essential food source for lots of creepy crawlies. As they are one of the first flowers of spring its even more important that we don’t pick them all. Those creepy crawlies are hungry after the long winter. I’ve seen recipes for Dandelion Honey that call for huge amounts of dandelion heads and they are often wasteful asking for only some of the petals from each flower head to be harvested. But, I can assure you that this recipe uses the whole head without any bitterness transferring to the final syrup. It is also the perfect amount to make one jar of honey. You can of course scale the recipe up if you “need” more honey or have a particularly wild patch of dandelions in your garden or local park but do make sure you leave plenty of flowers for the bees, beetles, butterflies and moths!
Vegan Dandelion "Honey"
This dandelion syrup has the wonderful floral flavour of honey. Use it in the same way you would any other natural sugar.
- 3-4 cups dandelion heads stalks removed
- 350 grams water (see note 1)
- 1 lemon sliced
- 1 vanilla pod split in half
- 350 grams white sugar
Rinse the dandelion heads gently to remove any small bugs and other pollutants.
Place the dandelion heads in a sauce pan along with the water, lemon and vanilla pod.
Bring the water to a simmer and leave gently bubbling for 30 minutes.
Take the saucepan off the heat and leave overnight to steep (12 hours).
Strain the liquid through muslin / cheese cloth to remove the dandelion heads, lemon and vanilla pod. (Make sure you give it a good squeeze to get all of the flavour and liquid out!)
Pour the liquid back in to the saucepan along with the sugar and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 1 hour, stirring regularly. During this time the mixture will thicken and turn to syrup.
(Optional) if you have a sugar thermometer you can check that the sugar syrup has reached 110C before taking off the heat and pouring into a sterilised jar.
Once the syrup has thickened to your desired level of thickness, pour into a sterilised jar.
Immediately close the lid and leave to cool, as the dandelion honey cools you will hear the lid "pop" as it creates an air tight seal.
It may seem a little odd weighing your water but you want equal weight of sugar to water. Water should weigh 1 gram per millilitre but I always weigh just in case!
What can I do with dandelion “honey”
You can use dandelion honey in the exact same way that you use regular honey. I drizzle mine on porridge, spread on toast, stir in cocktails and bake with it. Let me know how you use yours in the comments!