Segur le Chateau sits in a deep valley, on the edge of the L’Auvezere. Approaching the village, from any direction, one drives through fields and fields, edged with deep green woodlands. The bright green fields are populated by Limousin cattle, a hefty caramel breed, prized for their quality beef. Among the fields and the wooded areas, are literally hundreds of apple orchards. In April, the apple trees lack leaves, but instead are adorned with delicate pink and white apple blossoms. The stout trees, standing in deliberate parallel rows, glistening in the sunshine, seem to be showing off their flowery jewels.
In April, many of the cattle fields are carpeted with dandelions. The green grass forms a background to the yellow seas of Spring. Entire fields are filled with these ubiquitous plants smiling at the sun with their bright yellow heads. The cattle lay contentedly among the flowers, presumably after goring on the flowery feast before them.
Because that’s the thing about dandelions, although often thought as a pretty pest, the entire plant is edible and very nutritious. According to an aromatherapy website (xxx), dandelions boast the following health benefits, they: improves gastrointestinal health; cleanses the skin and prevent acne; can prevent or lower high blood pressure; improve liver health; and help control or prevent diabetes.
So this is my first post using dandelions. Tomorrow I’ll be posting about dandelion pesto, but today, dandelion syrup, a dandelion flower sugar syrup that we’ve been adding to mineral water, but could be also added to white wine as a dandelion aperitif. I used a recipe I found at FX Cuisine.
Remember, when you are collecting dandelions, collect then from clean areas. Avoid the edges of roads, areas that may have been sprayed with pesticides, or used by dogs as a loo. Here’s the recipe, I hope you like it.
Dandelion heads (as many as you can find, I collected a small plastic bag full).
1Kg white sugar
Step One: Rinse your dandelions in a bowl of water. Pat them dry on paper towel. Then remove the stems, placing the petals in a large pot. There’s a technique to this. You could use a knife, but I found it more satisfying to grab the green stalk and twist it away from the petals.
Step Two: In a large pot bring 1L of water and your petals to the boil. Once it’s boiling remove from heat and let the flavour of the dandelions steep into the water overnight.
Step Three: Sieve the dandelions out of the water. Press the dandelions into the sieve to remove all of the water. Dispose of the petals.
Step Four: Return the water to the large pot, and dissolve in 950grams of sugar over a medium heat. Once the sugar is dissolved, let the syrup cool and then decant into glass bottles.
Do you have any dandelion recipes? If so, please do send them along. We have an endless supply of dandelions.