Friday, May 17, 2013

Vanilla, Lavender & Wild Dandelion Syrup

This syrup was meant to be a jelly, but I am a novice with powder pectin. The flavor is still amazing, no matter what the consistency of the product so it didn't bother me in the least; you could still spread it on toast very easily just like honey. I recently became obsessed with foraging everything! My parent's live in a very rural area that is lush with wild edibles! Dandelions, violets, mushrooms, berries, wild asparagus...the list goes on and on. I spent part of Mother's Day foraging in their front yard, I picked a whole bunch of dandelion flowers and violets. Then I got to work researching recipes, ideas and coming up with a plan. This was my first time making dandelion flower anything; I have used the greens numerous times but I wasn't aware that the flowers were so delicious as well! I knew you could make tea with them but I didn't know that people made other things like wine and jelly. I read that the jelly tastes a lot like honey. Mine is definitely honey-esque but it also has a lot of other flavors happening. I soaked a vanilla bean and some lavender in with the dandelion flower infusion that you make before you make the jelly. I also added the vanilla seeds to the final product. The result is a very pleasing floral flavor that would taste absolutely lovely on a hot biscuit or over oatmeal. The recipes I was looking at said to add food coloring, which I personally thought was incredibly gross. Why on earth would you want an unnatural green colored jelly when you can have a beautiful, natural amber color? I did not add food coloring, I chose to let the dandelion petals color it how they wished.

Lets talk about preparing the wild dandelion flowers for a minute, because this is the most difficult part of the recipe. You want to pick dandelions that have very big and fully bloomed heads, it makes getting the petals off easier. You will notice in the picture on the right, that one of the flowers does not have any green around the petals, this has been removed. The easiest way to do this is to push it back, like a cuticle and then pull it off gently, after you do it half way around the head it pushes back very easily so that all you have to do is cut the head of the flower off with scissors. Its ok if you get a little bit of green in, but you want to be careful not to get too much, the green parts of the plant have a white milky substance in them that is incredibly bitter, and when cooked down will make your syrup bitter. I sat in my driveway watching my daughter play and cleaned my dandelions,
sort of like shucking corn or peas, very relaxing. Make sure when you forage your dandelions that they are not in an area that has been fertilized or sprayed with pesticide. You also don't want the ones that grow along the roadside because they are covered in the pollutants of exhaust.

This recipe makes 3 half pint jars of syrup. This recipe was adapted from The Independent Herbalist.


3 Cups wild dandelion flower petals, you want the yellow part of the flower only, no green. 
2 1/4 Cups boiling water
1/2 A package of 100% natural Sure-Jell, fruit pectin.
1Organic vanilla bean, whole.
1 Tbsp organic lavender
2 Cups fair trade, organic, raw cane sugar
1/4 Cup fresh squeezed orange juice


Pour the boiling water over the dandelion petals, add in the vanilla bean and lavender and let them steep at
least 2 hours, up to 24 hours. I let mine steep for 24.

Strain and reserve the liquid and vanilla bean.

In a non-reactive pan over high heat bring the dandelion infused liquid, orange juice and sugar to a boil. Add in the pectin and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Cut the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds from both halves and add them into the mixture. 

Ladle into clean, sterilized canning jars and cover. Tip them upside-down to seal, or store them in the fridge to eat immediately. 


  1. mmmm---looks yummy---and very different

  2. I have always wondered about using dandelions... we have so many in our yard. maybe this year I will give it a try. Following your blog now.

    1. Yes its free food! Thank you so much for following me I hope you love the recipes! This syrup I used in a vinaigrette today and it was so good! I really love it, prepping is a little tedious and takes a while but once its over it makes quite a bit and you can always double the recipe and not have to make it for a while! :) Happy foraging!

  3. What a great idea! I love the idea of using dandelions for something! I am definitely going to have to feature this in one of my upcoming blog posts. I will link back here when I do :)

    1. You can also make jelly, or wine with the dandelions, or use them raw...they get quite bitter when they flower so you want to get them before they flower if you want to use them raw.

    2. Dandelion wine sounds wonderful!

      Here is our dandelion post where your idea was featured as our number one favorite use for dandelions :)

    3. Thank you so much, this is awesome and I am truly honored! :)