Are you in love with dandelions this time of year just like me? Use some of your foraged dandelion stash to make this dandelion candy with wholesome honey, lemon and herbs.
How to Forage
So, collecting dandelions for dandelion candy has an official name – foraging. Foraging, or wildcrafting, has become all the rage these days and I’m happy that it is! This is one trend I can support. Here are some reasons you might want to learn more about wildcrafting:
- You don’t have the time you’d like for a garden, but you’ve certainly got “weeds” in your yard
- Nature walks are your favorite and have noticed so many beautiful plants that you’d like to know more about
- You love fresh food
- Free food is even better
- You’re crafty and enjoy what nature can provide in the way of materials for your projects
- Making your own medicinals and health care products is a goal of yours and would like to know more about how you can use wild plants in your products
- You simply want to know more about foraging ethically to interact with the beauties of nature
These are all great reasons!
The Botany and Wildcrafting Course
The Herbal Academy is has created another of their fabulous online courses – The Botany and Wildcrafting Course! I’m going to be taking the course with my kids as we move out of winter and into spring and summer. We’ll be watching the videos, printing the course material and even getting the special botany coloring book the Herbal Academy has created just for this course.
I’ve already started previewing some of the material and it’s looking really good – thorough information, excellent video and high quality printables. I’ll be sharing more about the course in my newsletter as the kids and I move through it, so be sure to sign up for that if you haven’t already.
To learn more about the course and the materials and cost just click below. You can also ask me any questions you have and even if I don’t know the answer, I’ll get one for you from the fabulous team at Herbal Academy.
Ok, now on to the information about dandelion candy – I just didn’t want you to miss out on all that course stuff. I geek out over things like this.
Herbal Cough Drops to Dandelion Candy
The kids and I forage so many dandelions every spring and were always looking for more things to do with them. Making dandelion candy was a natural leap from making our own herbal cough drops. Have you ever made your own cough drops?
Here are a few recipes you might like to try:
- Basic Herbal Cough Drops from Nerdy Farm Wife
- Black Cherry Cough Drops from Basic Herbal Cough Drops
- Horehound Cough Drops from Reformation Acres
- Homemade Cough Drop Lollipops (which I think my kids would like to take just because they’re lollipops) from Pistachio Project
- Basic Honey Lemon Cough Drops by Fit as a Mama Bear
The process for making dandelion candy is pretty much the same as for any of these herbal cough drops.
While this is technically dandelion candy, you could actually use it as a cough drop, if you needed to! This dandelion candy contains honey, raw sugar, dandelion, turmeric, lemon and ginger. Great tasting and naturally good for you! Or, at least, better for you than commercial candy with corn syrup and chemical dyes.
- 2 Cups dandelion tea*
- 2 Cups raw sugar
- 1 Cup honey
- ½ tsp powdered ginger
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 lemon squeeze and strain out the seeds
Mix all the ingredients in a medium to large, heavy-bottomed pot with handles. Stir once to combine.
Place on a burner with medium heat.
From this point on, don’t stir the contents of the pot. Using the handles, gently swish the contents of the pot as the mixture heats to prevent scorching.
Using a candy thermometer, heat to 300F/149C until hard crack stage. Watch carefully for signs of the sugar scorching or burning. Remove from heat to cool a bit if necessary. If you have a gas stovetop, it’s easier to control the flame and prevent burning. This process is much harder on an electric stove. Ask me how I know.
Remove immediately from heat and begin place by spoonful onto a silicone mat or buttered glass dish. You can also pour mixture into heat-proof silicone molds for fun shapes and sizes.
Wait at least ten minutes and remove the dandelion candy by carefully popping them up.
Coat in organic powdered sugar to prevent the dandelion candy from sticking together. Alternatively, you can use stevia powdered mix with cassava flour. You could use arrowroot powder, if you prefer, but I think it’s too bitter. This is candy, after all.
Dandelion Candy Notes
*To make dandelion tea, gather about three cups of dandelion blooms. Snip the green ends off and compost them. Place the blooms into heat-safe bowl and cover with at least 4 cups of boiling water. Let it sit for at least 4-6 hours. The longer you leave it, the darker and stronger the tea will get. Strain and compost the used dandelion.
**If you don’t have a candy thermometer, heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves. It takes roughly another half hour to get the heated mixture to 300F/149C. The mixture will start to bubble (boil) and separate when it’s hot enough. You can drop a bit of the mixture into a glass of cold water; if it hardens quickly, it’s ready. You can also drop a bit onto a silicone mat to see if it hardens, which it should start to do quickly.
Dandelion Candy Tips
As stated in the recipe, to shape the dandelion candy you simply drop about 1/2 teaspoon of the hot mixture onto a silicone mat.
You can also drop it onto a buttered platter or a cookie tray lined with parchment paper.
Pouring the mixture carefully into heat-proof silicone molds will provide you with unique shapes and sizes. These are especially great if you want to make a gift of your dandelion candy.
Dandelion Candy Trouble Shooting
If you’re having a hard time getting your candy to set up and/or you’re struggling with the syrup burning, here are a few things to try:
- Do not be tempted to heat your syrup on high heat; medium heat will get you to hard crack, but it does take time.
- Double check that your thermometer is working correctly; better yet, use two when making candy. You can check the accuracy of your candy thermometer by putting it in water and bringing the water to a boil. The thermometer should read 212 F/100 C; if the reading is higher or lower, take the difference into account when testing the temperature of your sugar syrup.
- If you don’t have a heavy bottomed pan that will evenly distribute heat on its own, see if you can find a cast iron pan. Place that on the stove-top and put your candy pan inside it. Heat the two together and the cast iron should push the heat around evenly.
- As you heat the syrup, you’re cooking out the water but the kitchen can get hot and humid. Run a fan or the air conditioner nearby to dry out the ambient air.
- If you still can’t get it to set without burning, start with a little less of the dandelion tea.
- Also, you can remove the syrup from the heat once the thermometer registers 300 degrees F. and let the temperature to rise on its own for the last 10 degrees. I often have to do this on my electric stove.
Dandelion Candy Mistakes
You’re going to make some mistakes making dandelion candy the first few times. It happen, no worries! Here are two things to do with your goof batches.
Dandelion Candy Mixture Too Cool = Dandelion Syrup
Sometimes the kids come running in with a cut, or the phone rings or you realize you’re late for an appointment. You just don’t have time to finish cooking your batch, but you don’t want to waste the dandelion candy mixture!
You won’t waste it. You’re going to use it on your next batch of pancakes and tell everyone how tasty this dandelion syrup is that you just made!
With the lemon and the honey this is just a delectable syrup!
Dandelion Candy Mixture Too Hot = Dandelion Kefir Food
So, you burned a batch of dandelion candy. Sugar heats fast and all it wants to do it burn! Grrr.
Forgeddaboudit! Go ahead and make candy – little bits and pieces – and save it to feed your water kefir.
Don’t know how to keep water kefir – click here to read this post from Nourished Kitchen.