An easy recipe to make
Dandelion syrup

Dandelion syrup in a bottle on the table with dandelion flowers around put in a pleasant way. There are drops of dandelion honey next to the flowers. On the first stage, there are dandelion leaves, that are edible and can be used for salads, for example as a substitute for arugula.

The dandelion plant known from ancient times thanks to its flavor and nutritious compounds. Moreover, it is a nontoxic herb that can treat many diseases and is used for. You can eat leaves, root, you can dried it and make tea or use the flowers for liquor.

What I like to do from dandelion is pesto. I use root, leaves and you can add flowers if you like. When mixed with other herbs – you’ll get a nice, greeny look additive to your meal. Here, I present a dandelion syrup recipe, known as dandelion honey that I made from flowers.

It is easy to make, nutritious, and tastes completely different than dandelion bee-honey.

Dandelion honey for who?

Dandelion honey is good for everyone unless you have an allergy to pollen.

Type II diabetic patients should be aware to limit its amount up to 70g at least in one portion. I suggest this limit based on research I’ve done on bee honey and diabetic patients. Up to this amount, bee-honey is beneficial for glucose and lipid metabolism. It was also found to be positive for inflammatory markers and improves pancreatic functions.

Patients with stomach ulcers should be aware of consuming dandelion syrup which wasn’t made only from flower petals. Green parts contain bitter compounds that stimulate stomach function and acid production.

The question is open for type I diabetic patients.

If you are fructose intolerant, it might be not a good option for you because of the high sugar content. However, the close proportion of glucose to fructose might make you tolerate it more than you would think.

Why it’s good to eat it?

Dandelion and its food products were also found to decrease triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), total cholesterol, and blood sugar. Moreover, like bee-honey, it decreases oxidative stress and inflammatory processes.

Commonly it is used for

  1. Upper respiratory system infections,
  2. Sore throat and caught any type,
  3. Stomach problems and infections,
  4. Digestion improvement.

Based on bee-honey studies, I assume that it is also a great wound healing supporter. If you got cut, the immediate use of dandelion syrup should stimulate the immune system and sterilize the wound.

A close picture of beautiful yellow dandelion flower growing on the field which are used for dandelion honey.Dandelion flowers

  1. Stimulates bile acids excretion,
  2. Stimulates diuresis,
  3. Combats inflammation,
  4. will help you with muscle cramps or menstrual cramps.

Components

  • 1 liter of flowers,
  • 2 lemons,
  • 1 liter of water,
  • 1 kg of sugar.

About the process

Picking up dandelion flowers

The whole thing to do is so simple and fun. Picking up dandelions can be a pleasant and funny time for your family. Especially if you are taking your kids with you. They’ll be happy to participate and they’ll love dandelion syrup because it’s delicious. But in contrast to sweets, it is healthy (though energy-rich). Do it on a dry day, when flowers are open.

Choose an area out of city and road, at best the one you know hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides. In the recipe, you’ll need 1 kg of sugar for 1 liter of flowers. In different recipes, I’ve seen different amounts about how many flowers you need to pick up, eg. 300, 500. But who counts them? 1 liter, in my opinion, is the best measurement and you don’t need to pay much attention to that because it’s very flexible.

I prefer to have a stronger taste, thus I usually picking up more, adding even bee pollen. Ps. You need only heads but stems can be removed later.

Let the bugs out

In the flowers, there are small bags or spiders that you can let the opportunity to go out by leaving dandelions outside for a few hours. You can spread them on the balcony or terrace.

I usually skip that because I don’t mind some bugs. When I’m picking dandelions and I see any, I leave them alone.

Trimming the blossom

Now what you need is to remove all green parts. Once I skip this and I regret it. Green parts have a bitter taste, especially green base -this you need to remove for sure… For me, yellow petals are all I want to use for my syrup from dandelions so I remove even green sepals.

You can check out what your preferences are. This stage is time-consuming and you may want to skip it or remove the only green base or do it only in half of your flowers. Remember that the more green you leave, the more bitter your syrup will be.

It is the same as the time of your harvests. In Poland, dandelions grow in April-May. The first one is least bitter, and those picked up later are more.

Cooking time

Now when you trimmed the flowers put them in the pot, cover with amount of water equal to the number of flowers you have and bring it to a rapid boil. Leave them on a gentle heat and boil them for 15-20 minutes. After that let it get gold and put it to the fridge for 24 hours or at least for the night. That will extract flavor from petals to the liquid. Cook it again and let it cool off.

Press the flowers

You can use either fine strainer or dressing gauze to press out the petals and remove liquid to the container. Add sugar and squeeze the lemon. You can add also peels of lemon, a pinch of ground cloves or whole cloves, a twig of thyme, or vanilla bean for flavor.

Final cooking time

Now you have everything you need. Make it all boiling quickly, then leave it on the gentle heat constantly stirring. The syrup has a high sugar content and the longer it boils, the denser it is. Boil it to the density you like. For myself, I like dense, honey-like consistency what takes even up to 4 hours for that.

As from one side, you need to cook the syrup to have from it what you want, from another overlong cooking may decrease its value. However, you don’t want to not have it dense. Why? Because then water activity (availability for bacterias or fungi) is too high and syrup can be infected and you’ll have to throw it away.

Once I poured too much water and didn’t have time to cook it long enough to evaporate excess. As a result, I had to trash almost all jars of syrup (one didn’t get spoiled because at the end I added bee-honey to it).

Store it!

Alright, you got it. Pour the syrup into the container. I use mason jars and if I want to put some syrup on the table for the dressing I pour it to the bottle like the one you see at the top.

If you have honey-like consistency the syrup should stay for a long time even at room temperature because of high sugar content. It should stay at least for a year, like honey. If it will get spoiled you know you used too much water or didn’t cook long enough.

Within the first few weeks, the flavor is getting deeper.A picture of a large field of dandelion flowers made on the hill toward the valley. On the bottom, there are plenty of houses and mountains seen in the background. There are some small trees in the middle of the picture.

Watch out!

There are other plants that are very similar to the dandelion but are not edible. The most similar is Sonchus called sow thistles but it’s very easy to differentiate them if you know that:

  • Dandelion has only one flower per stalk while sow thistle has many of them
  • Dandelion leaves are growing only at the base and all along the stalk in saw thistle
  • Dandelion has one flower per stalk while saw thistle branches all way up to the top and has many flowers
A comparison of the dandelion plant to the sow thistle. Both are very similar but have a few things that distinguish them from each other. It is good to know differences because sow thistle is toxic while dandelion flowers and other parts of the plant are edible and healthy. One of those differences are that leaves are growing from the bottom only in the dandelion and all along the base in the sow thistle. The latter flourishes with more than one flower per base while dandelion has only one per base.

Sow Thistle is toxic. Make sure you are picking up Dandelion (on the right).

Other plants that are similar to dandelion are catsear, Crepis called hawksbeard, Tragopogon pratensis, and hawkbitsI would suggest to you to check them out all on Google Images to see how they look to be sure you are picking up a dandelion.

How to make dandelion syrup

  1. Pick the dandelion flowers,
  2. Spread them outdoor for a few hours,
  3. Remove the green sepals (you don’t have to) and green base,
  4. Measure the amount of petals you have and add an equal amount of water,
  5. Boil it for 15-20 minutes at the heat that makes it barely boiling,
  6. Let it get cold and put in the refrigerator for 24 hours or night,
  7. Before next cooking, you can add something you like (peels of lemon and orange, a pinch of ground cloves or whole cloves, a twig of thyme, or vanilla bean),
  8. Cook it again, let it cool off and squeeze the petals through a fine strainer or dressing gauze (the latter is better in my opinion),
  9. Add sugar and lemon juice to the liquid
  10. Cook it again for:
    • up to 2 hours for slight thickness
    • up to 4 hours for honey-like consistency
  11. Store it in a container, mason jar, bottles.

How to use dandelion honey?

You can use it as a substitute for bee-honey, sugar, maple syrup, and others. As a remedy for infection treatment or for topping for pancakes, ice creams, cakes or to put on a sandwich.
One of the ways I use it dandelion syrup is by adding it to my morning shakes to make them sweeter. I usually use a lot of cocoa, maca, or carob which have a strong flavor. Bee honey or dandelion syrup is a great of help here.

  • Generally, it is recommended to take 1-2 teaspoons of dandelion syrup per day. I don’t limit myself to this and if I want to eat more plant syrup or bee-honey, I eat more. I doubt that it “loses” its properties when you take more of it,
  • If you or your children got an infection, take 1 teaspoon 2-4 times per day. I would say that its better to take 4 times than 2.
  • If you are looking for gastrointestinal functions improvement it is recommended to take 1 teaspoon before the meal up to 3 times. I believe that if you are eating more meals you can take before each and if you are an adult, I think 2 teaspoons would be better than 1. Also if you want to treat infection, you probably will get more from 2 teaspoons per portion than 1.

You can eat it directly or dissolve in tea or milk. If you have upper tract respiratory infection I suggest you add at least a teaspoon of bee honey and dissolve it (with dandelion syrup) in a liquid. That will have much stronger properties! But remember to dissolve them, cause then enzymes found in bee honey gots activated. Another thing to keep bee honey enzymes activated is to… not destroy them. You can easily inactivate them by dissolving bee honey in a liquid of temperature 40 Celcius degrees and higher. Avoid that.

Dandelion honey somehow reacts with heated milk and doesn’t want to dissolve. If you are going to drink warm milk with crushed garlic and honey as a treatment, u have no choice and need to use bee honey.

Frequently asked question

I pick up flowers but left them overnight and they got closed. Can I still use them?

Of course, you can. Remove green parts if you wish and do your job!

Does cooking (temperature) kill the healthy properties of dandelion syrup?

No, it doesn’t. Cooking is necessary to extract substances from the dandelion. During cooking some substances breaks down and some new are being formed. It is far from true that cooking disrupts everything you want to have from the syrup.

I poured too much water and my syrup doesn’t want to get dense. What to do?

You can add more sugar to not have to cook it too long.

I feel or smell caramel in my dandelion honey. Is it normal?

Yes, that’s normal. There might be two reasons for that, one is that you weren’t stirring the syrup during cooking. The sugar you are adding to the syrup under temperature transforms into the caramel. So if you want dense dandelion honey, you are cooking it longer and it’s completely normal. If you like caramel taste, cook it longer than shorter.

If there is so much sugar, is it healthy?

Yes, it is. It is similar to bee honey. There is a lot of sugar too and it is still healthy. Moreover, this sugar is beneficial if you want to use dandelion syrup for wound healing or to improve digestion and gastrointestinal tract functions.

From another point of few – if you are going to use dandelion syrup to improve digestion or treat the infection you are using small amounts of it. Don’t worry about the sugar.

Do I need to pasteurize dandelion syrup?

No, you don’t. High sugar content in dandelion syrup makes it resistant to bacterial and mold infection.

Do I really need to keep the dandelion syrup in the fridge?

It should be okay for you to keep it out if it’s closed. If you’ve opened it. It might be necessary to keep it in the fridge but it is hard to say. It depends on how much sugar you have in it. The denser it is, the higher probability it is that it’s “safe” and long-shelved in the room temperature. Otherwise, it can get spoiled. I keep most of mine in the basement and some on the shelves in the kitchen. Some people are using smaller jars than bigger ones so they quickly get eaten and thus are less probable to get spoiled.

I found mold on my dandelion honey. Should I bin it?

Definitely. Mold produces toxins that end up in the whole product.

My child got an infection, is it enough if I’ll give him dandelion syrup?

It can’t be said. Speak to your doctor. Whatever you’ll give him, besides that, focus on basic health issues like sleep patterns or dietary habits.

Sources & References

Jedrejek D, Lis B, Rolnik A, Stochmal A, Olas B. Comparative phytochemical, cytotoxicity, antioxidant and haemostatic studies of Taraxacum officinale root preparations. Food Chem Toxicol. 2019;126:233‐247. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2019.02.017 PubMed

Olas B & Lis B. Pro-health activity of dandelion (Taraxacum officinale L.) and its food products – history and present. Journal of Functional Food 59 (2019) 40-48. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jff.2019.05.012 ScienceDirect