Sweet, runny and blossomy, this dandelion honey is the perfect bee friendly vegan substitute for honey. If I hadn’t made it myself I wouldn’t believe it’s not honey, it tastes and feels like the real thing!
Dandelions – Weeds or Wildflowers?
“A weed is but an unloved flower.”Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Dandelions are considered weeds in the UK, often seen as the nemesis to those that want a perfectly green grass lawn. But dandelions have been used by humans for food for centuries and appreciated by many cultures for their medicinal benefits.
A dandelion is not just one plant, but several different species of the genus Taraxacum. The most common are T. officinale and T. erythrospermum and they spread across the world from Europe.
A dandelion is easily to recognise with it’s bright yellow many petaled flowers. Its leaves form around the base, and often have a toothed leaves. There are several similar plants with similar flowerheads in the daisy family Asteraceae, sometimes known as false dandelions, so learn how to distinguish these.
The leaf shape is what gives the dandelion it’s name – from the French dent de lion, literally meaning lion’s tooth. In German the plant is also known as Löwenzahn.
After they have flowered the plants turn into beautiful seed heads, often called clocks. Who remembers ‘telling the time’ as a child by blowing the seeds?
Every part of the dandelion plant is edible. As always, with foraging be 100 percent sure that what you are gathering is correctly identified and safe to eat. You can use the young leaves in salads and dry them to make tea. The long tap root can be dried, roasted and ground – it tastes surprising like coffee! Some people can have an allergic reaction to the pollen of dandelion, so take care. The flowers can be used to make dandelion wine. What we love to do most with the dandelion flowers, is to make this amazing vegan dandelion honey!
So let’s get picking our flowers to make our vegan honey. Just leave some dandelions for the bees too 🙂
Picking Dandelion Flowers
The best place to pick your dandelion flowers is a lawn or field away from roads and dog walkers. Also take care not to pick anywhere that may have recently been sprayed with pesticides. The flowers open during the day and close during the night. You want to pick the fully open flowers, that still look nice and fresh. For our vegan honey recipe, pick just the flower heads without any stalk.
The perfect vegan substitute for honey
Before I became vegan I didn’t know much about honey production and like many others I thought that buying honey was actually friendly to bees. I knew that vegans didn’t eat honey, but I didn’t really know the details why.
Made with foraged dandelion flowers, our vegan honey is so simple to make and tastes just like the real thing. All you need is fresh dandelion flowers, organic sugar, a lemon and water. That’s it! Unlike other vegan honey alternatives such as golden syrup, agave syrup, date syrup, our vegan dandelion honey could make anyone believe it’s actually honey! The dandelion flowers gives this vegan honey substitute a rich floral taste.
Vegan Dandelion Honey
- 2 cups fresh dandelion flowerheads, densely packed
- 2 slices lemon
- 1.5 cups water
- about 1.5 cups organic sugar
- Shake or blow the flowers to remove any bugs
- Place the water, lemon slices and dandelion flowers in a saucepan
- Simmer with a lid on for 15 minutes
- Leave this to cool and infuse overnight
- The next day, strain out the flowers and lemon by pouring the liquid through a strainer or muslin cloth. Press down to make sure you get all of that dandelion juice out!
- Put the liquid back in the pan and add the sugar. Stir and heat gently at first until the sugar is dissolved. Then bring it up to a gentle boil for approximately 15 minutes. See the notes for tips on knowing when it's ready.
- Pour into clean sterilised jars while it's still hot
We hope you like this dandelion honey as much as we do! You should totally try it on our Super Seedy Sourdough Bread We really love foraging so you can find lots more wild food recipes and tips here:
Sophie and Paul