Introduction: Dandelion Honey - Vegan Alternative
A homemade vegan alternative for honey. No bees involved! By definition, not a honey
I'm not overly keen on bee honey at the best of times and this smells and tastes almost the same.
As my daughter-in-law is vegan, I've made this for her and she loves it.
I'm a vegetarian and not a vegan, so I hope this meets with the approval of vegans out there.
Step 1: You Will Need:
- 200 large dandelion heads or
- 300 smaller dandelion heads
- 1ltr of distilled water (about 1 3/4 pints)
- 4 cups of sugar (about 900g)
- 1 whole lemon (or 2 if you want to add to the jars later - optional)
- A good, heavy 'jam' pan
- Wooden spoon
- Glass jars - sterilised
Do not use dandelions from the road sides and always collect from a number of sustainable sources.
My neighbour allows me to use the ones that grow in her garden, so I take all I need before she mows her lawn
Step 2: How To
- Separate the yellow heads from any green bits. A laborious task but worth the effort
- Rinse the heads and place in a mixing bowl (not plastic)
- Drain heads then boil the distilled water, then pour over the petals and soak them for a minimum of 12 hours. You can also grate the rind of one lemon and add to the mix (this is the lemon you will use the juice of later)
- Sieve and strain - keep the water, add the dandelion heads to the compost heap
- Squeeze the lemon
- Add sugar and lemon juice to the water
- On a low heat, bring to the boil, stirring gently all the time with a wooden spoon
- When the spoon starts pulling 'strings' and the mixture become slightly tacky, take off the heat
- Transfer to your sterilised glass jars*
* If you wish to use a second lemon, ensure it has been cleaned and pipped, then slice it and share the slices between your jars. Put the lemon slices in the jars before you fill them with the 'honey' mixture.
Can be used once cooled
Step 3: Notes:
=== The following is an addition following useful and constructive feedback in comments ===
With grateful thanks to the feedback below, here is a note on the water and bees
A note about water: My original recipe stated distilled water, this is a personal choice as I find "over boiled" water unpleasant due to the additions following filtration at the water plant.
It is possible to use straight or filtered tap water or even spring water. The decision is yours.
A note about the bees: In my original post, I failed to mention to take care and be vigilant in case you damage a lurking bee or in case you are stung
Please read the useful and constructive feedback on this Instructable below
Runner Up in the
Vegan Food Challenge
6 years ago
Thanks midiansangel, even though you didn't like it. I've been making this for many years. Honey lovers love it, honey haters are allowed to hate it.
Since I harvest my dandelion blossoms in the Alps at an altitude of 4200 ft above sea level, I have to make do with medium to small heads. You wrote "no bees involved." Ha! Make sure there is no bee hanging under a blossom you are picking. Happened to me several times.
Anyway, I can't see any reason for not using ordinary tap water. Why distilled water? Is that a vegan thing? By the way, I keep the infusion (water, petals, grated lemon peel) simmering for 5 - 10 minutes before letting it steep over night. That enhances the flavor.
The main problem lies in the absolutely right moment of taking the pot off the stove and pouring the concoction into the jars. A few minutes too early result in kind of a runny syrup, while a few minutes too late may still look great but will be way too solid for spreading after cooling.
It seems that boiling the liquid down to 35% of its original volume is just about right. I use a ruler and simple math to measure it. It's more accurate than the "length of strings" kind of guesswork.
If in doubt, opt for a little bit too solid. If that is the case after cooling to room temperature (which takes several hours), put the open jars in an inch of simmering water for about 15 minutes, then add hot water from the pot in small quantities (one TS per jar or so), stir thoroughly, add more if required etc.. Keep in mind that it will be thicker after cooling. Take the pot off the stove, remove the jars (BBQ glove!), close them and let them cool again.
Dandelion "honey" that did not have to be doctored up after transferring to the jars can be stored for years. In the course of time it will turn darker and it may crystallize but can be re-liquefied by heating the jar in simmering water. After three to four years the taste becomes more intense.
Last summer I used some of the stuff I made in 2009 for making dandelion ice cream, absolutely delicious with Saskatoon berries (when we are in Michigan) or bilberries (when in the Alps) and fresh whipped cream (or whatever vegans may use). Both those species are much tastier than American blueberries.
Reply 6 years ago
No, thank you Jackofalltrade for the extra tips there, very useful. I hope any readers will make a few notes from your comments.
You are correct when you mention tap water, this is a personal preference. The reason I don't use straight tap water is because of all the additional chemicals that are in there following the filtration process at the water 'plants' here. Tap water or filtered tap water would work just as well, or even bottled water,
If I'm honest, I never knew until you mentioned, exactly how long it would last. It's always been eaten too quickly here to find out.
I collect my dandelion heads shortly after the sun comes up in the morning and have not, as yet, encountered a bee lurking about there. But I'm always concious of the fact that there may be.
Your location of dandelion head collection makes me rather envious. It sounds so much more glamorous that my neighbours garden.
I wish I enjoyed honey because that ice-cream accompaniment sounds divine, I guess the nearest thing we have here in Wales is a wimberries that grow amongst the heather on the mountain sides here.
I will be trying next years with your extra tips on simmering the infusion.
Reply 6 years ago
Thanks for solving the water mystery. Here in Switzerland, regulations concerning tap water are far stricter than those for bottled water, and the water we have at our place in the alps (actually a farm house that turned 400 y.o. this year) is as pure as can be, coming directly from a spring beneath a glacier.
Of course most of the "honey" I make on a yearly basis goes pretty quickly too, but every year I take two or three jars across the Big Pond to store in the cellar of our home in rural Northern Michigan, not to be used without my express permission (yup!). That's how I can do some "research" on a few older samples. The oldest sample I have is from spring 2005, dark brown now but still good. Unlike jams it doesn't attract mould ("mold" for my American Other Half et al.); I guess the sugar content is way too high for that.
As for our dandelion patch, search "Tarasp Castle" in Google Images and you'll get the view from where I pick my dandelions; it's just a good 1.6 km (1 mile) from the castle, gorgeous indeed.
As for bilberries -- the Alpine variety is very tasty, much more so than the way bigger but rather boring blueberries. They grow wild and are said to be unsuitable for growing in plantations. Saskatoon berries are as big as blueberries but as delicious as Alpine bilberries, but, funny enough, there is not the slightest botanical relationship!
Reply 6 years ago
Officially envious of your dandelion patch!!!!
Keep me updated on your research. I only have one jar of last year's left. I might just start doing the same thing
6 years ago
Is it really similar to honey?
Reply 6 years ago
If you pick the right time to transfer it to the jars, the consistency is very honey-like. The taste, although about as sugary as honey, is not exactly the same, but it sure makes a good substitute for those who do not want to rob bee hives.
Reply 6 years ago
I have to be honest, I don't like honey and I don't like this either. It must be pretty close