Dandelion Syrup

Our persistent weed is here again--the perennial dandelion. Much hated, detested and despised in our country, but considered a delicacy in Europe! We can learn much from over there....and how they use many different things we would rather ignore.

The long tap roots of the dandelion have a substance in them that is used as a natural laxative. The roots are also roasted and ground, then used as a coffee substitute. The stems can be boiled and make a great side veggie somewhat similar to spinach. The leaves make excellent salad greens and potherbs and the flowers have often been used to make the infamous dandelion wine.

I propose using those bright yellow blooms as a delightful Dandelion Syrup for use over pancakes or waffles. Think how much fun the kids would have creating and eating this meal! The play factor here is appealing to munchkins. Just make sure they pick them at the middle of the day when they are drier. To make a good supply, you'll need:

4 ea.               big handfuls of dandelion tops
1/2 ea.             lemon, juiced
1 quart             cold water
2 lbs.              sugar

Place the tops in the water and bring to a slow boil. Let boil half a minute then cool overnite. The next day, strain and push out the excess water. Discard the blooms and save the dandelion water. Mix this water with the lemon and sugar and simmer until most of the water has evaporated. Do not bring to a hard boil.

Let the mixture cool, then simmer again until thick in consistency like maple syrup. This can be poured over flapjacks either warm or cool. Why not garnish with some fresh dandelion blooms? Or at least a bouquet! And as always, a good cook appreciates nature and what it has to offer.