Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wondered why we call some flowers flowers and other flowers weeds. I think the dandelion is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. The flowers are the most brilliant yellow, the stems are long and straight, and you can find them right in your back yard.
I have always known that you can eat dandelion leaves, but it only recently came to my attention that the flowers are also edible. I am so into foraging for food that it borders on obsession, so naturally as soon as I found out that you can eat dandelion flowers, I decided I had to make something with them.
Now I’m not going to lie — this recipe is a little challenging. It takes some hard work, some patience, and some finesse. But the end result is totally worth it; a sorbet that tastes like the essence of spring itself.
Enough chatter, let’s make some sorbet!
Dandelion Flower Sorbet
- 1 quart just-picked dandelion blossoms, harvested from a pesticide-free area
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
1. As soon as possible after harvesting your flowers, use sharp scissors to cut the yellow petals away from the green calyxes. Try to leave as much of the bitter white fibers at the base of the petals out as you can. We’re shooting for as much yellow as possible.
2. Place the petals in a fine mesh strainer and give them a quick rinse under cold water. This will get rid of any tiny bugs that might be on them, so don’t skip this step!
3. While the petals are draining, make your simple syrup. Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. As soon as the mixture comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and add the drained petals. Let that mixture steep for one hour.
4. At the end of the hour, use that fine mesh strainer again to strain the petals out of your syrup. Stir the lemon juice into the syrup mixture. Now place that in a covered container in the refrigerator and chill overnight, or for at least 8 hours.
5. Freeze the cooled syrup mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. I’ve heard that you can also freeze the mixture on a baking sheet until solid and then puree it in a strong blender. I’ve never tried this method, so if you do, let me know how it worked!
6. Once your ice cream maker has finished, freeze the sorbet in a covered container for no less than three days. Be sure to remove the sorbet from the freezer 15-20 minutes before serving. This is not totally necessary, but it makes it much more scoopable.
Some notes on this recipe:
- Harvesting dandelion flowers does not take as long as you’d think. Take a quart jar out to the lawn on the day you’re going to mow, and fill up the jar. However tightly packed the flowers are, that’s how intense the flavor of your sorbet will be.
- Flowers harvested in the morning have a sweeter flavor, and the faster you get the petals into the hot syrup, the sweeter your sorbet will be.
- You are going to want to eat this before it’s frozen for three days. Don’t. Seriously, I don’t know how, but something magical happens to this sorbet after a few days in the freezer. It’s worth the wait.
- I wish that the sorbet was a little brighter yellow. I fought the temptation to add food coloring, but I’m not sure it was the right choice. If you make this and decide to add a drop or two of food coloring, I won’t tell anyone. I promise.
As always, if you decide to make this recipe, I’d love to hear about it. Send me an email to Info@PaperTuesday.com. Or, even better, share your pictures with the world by posting them on our Facebook page!