By Fredrica Syren
It’s so funny how dandelion flowers are, for anyone on a quest for the perfect grassy yard, your worst enemy — but, for a child, a source of major fun. I remember as a child loving dandelions. Their leaves were food for my rabbit; their yellow flowers made beautiful crowns for my fellow princesses and me; and, of course, the wishing flowers were entertainment as I saw its seeds spread while I blew on it and made wishes.
What most people don’t know is that the dandelion has a long history of traditional medicinal uses. Dandelions are rich in potassium and grow nearly everywhere. The flower is used for everything from a diuretic to a tonic for treating the early stages of cirrhosis of the liver. Dandelions are known for cleansing the body and keeping fluid levels balanced, which is beneficial to many organs and body functions.
Now the mom of a little girl, I see that this “weed” provides so much fun for her, too. Bella asked me one day what we could do with the yellow flowers and I suddenly remembered a recipe I had seen for making dandelion syrup. Dandelion syrup can be used in many ways: on top of pancakes or plain yogurt, anywhere you use a sweetener, really … you name it. It has a very nice flower-like flavor and is our favorite topping for pancakes. Here is a recipe:
1. Remove the petals from the sepal. Be sure not to allow any green into the petals, as it will add bitterness to the syrup.
2. Place the petals into a medium pot and cover with 3 cups water and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat, cover and let sit overnight.
3. Strain dandelion water into a bowl, pressing on the flowers with the back of a spoon to extract all the liquid.
4. Return water to pot and add sugar, lemon peel and simmer over low heat until thickened.
5. Allow to cool, and pour into a clean jar or bottle. Store covered in refrigerator.