When you look at any grassy area, you’ll notice the sea of yellow dandelions. Since the provincial government banned many of the harmful weed killing treatments, these flowers have popped up everywhere. I guess you could say they are growing like weeds.
Don’t despair if your lawn looks a lot like ours did the other day. You may see big nasty weeds choking out the grass, but I see delicious possibilities! The other day I dug up quite a few dandelions for beer (more on that later) and noticed that there was still a lot of the little bastards left. Quick internet search (they have the internet on computers now) for what you can make with them, aside from beer, and I found a Swiss recipe for Dandelion Petal Cordial.
Seeing as I have 75L of alcohol brewing in the basement, I thought it was time to make something for the prohibitionists out there.
It’s simple really. Go out to your yard where you’re sure the cat or dog hasn’t left a gift, and with scissors, cut the heads off the dandelion plants. Using this method you’ll avoid bittering the drink with the milk contained in the stems. By pulling on the flowers you squeeze the bitterness all over them and it will spoil the flavour. I cut about 120 heads. I only picked the best of the best (there was quite a selection) and avoided any that were closing or weren’t very brilliant in colour. The idea with this recipe is to capture the essence of a warm day in a syrup. If you pick dull flowers it will taste like a miserable day, and if you want that taste, you’re better off just drinking from dirty puddles and eavestroughs.
In the recipe it said to wash the heads. I didn’t for two reasons; I’m not worried about bugs, and why would I want to wash away all of the tasty pollen? If the green portion of the heads are included in the pot, the flavour will become bitter, so the yellow petals must be separated. Easier said than done. I had to split each flower in half and pull away the petals very carefully trying not to pull green with them. Midway through I started to fantasize about a machine that could do it for me. Yes, it’s a sad fantasy. After an hour, all of the heads had been processed. My fingers were a mix of yellow from the pollen, and black from the greens. With black finger nail tips I looked like I’d gone into someone’s nail polish collection and given myself a terrible French manicure.
Referring back to the recipe, things became a little unclear. How much water? “Enough to cover the petals”. But the petals float. I could add 10 gallons and they still wouldn’t be covered! Yelling at computer doesn’t get you far, so I guessed at the amount of water. I brought the water to a boil, gave things a stir, and set it aside overnight with a lid on to steep.
The next day, I strained off the petals, using a spoon to squeeze out every last drop of liquid. Then, I weighed the liquid and added 95% of the weight in sugar. I re-boiled the mixture until the sugar had dissolved. You’re supposed to add lemon to taste, but I forgot to get one and I couldn’t be bothered to go out so I left it out. Once the liquid had cooled enough, I poured the cordial into two sterilized bottles.
Moment of truth. Added an 1/8″ of the cordial to a small glass and topped it up with fizzy water. Wow! It’s like the sun is shining from my mouth! Some people in this household weren’t as impressed and said it was too sweet. More for me.