Dandelions are incredibly abundant, which makes them a forager's dream. Even better is that almost the entire plant can be used - leaves, flowers and roots. The young leaves make a great addition to salads, bring a sharp, bitter taste to the mix.

Alternatively, they can be sautéed in oil and garlic, like other leafy greens, and enjoyed as a side dish. The roots can be used for making a caffeine-free coffee-like drink, and the yellow heads can be fried, baked into a bread or scones, or made into wine.

Dandelion stems and leaves. © Maximilian Stock Ltd/Getty
Dandelion stems and leaves. © Maximilian Stock Ltd/Getty

In fact, the only parts that can't be consumed are the puffy seed heads.

As dandelions are weeds, the main caution that must be taken while foraging is to avoid areas that may had had weedkiller sprayed on them, such as public grassy verges, or where dogs may have peed on them.

Generally, it's discouraged to uproot a plant for the sake of foraging, because this damages the plant population. However, as dandelions are so abundant, you could use them roots of these if you take them sparingly from land you have permission to forage from.

Try to avoid taking the flowers in early spring, when they are a key food source for bees.


  • 60 Dandelion flowers
  • 400ml Water
  • 190g Brown sugar
  • 190 Caster sugar
  • ½ Lemon, juice and zest


  • STEP 1

    Remove the stems from the dandelions and as many of the green leaves from the flower as possible. Then rinse the flowers and pat dry.

    Put the water in a large pan and add the flowers. Bring to the boil and leave for one minute. Then remove the pan from the heat and allow to infuse overnight.

  • STEP 2

    The following day, strain the liquid through a cheesecloth or clean tea towel, squeezing out as much water as you can. Return the liquid to the pan and discard the flowers.

  • STEP 3

    Then add the sugar, lemon zest and juice to the pan, cover and simmer on a low heat for one hour. The syrup will thicken further once it has cooled, so don't be alarmed if it appears thin at the end of the simmering time.

  • STEP 4

    Allow to cool to a safe heat, then adjust to taste with sugar and lemon juice. Transfer to a sterile jar and leave to cool completely. It can keep in the fridge for up to a month.

    Pour over pancakes, waffles or porridge for a sweet and totally natural treat.

    Dandelion syrup. © Ulyana Khorunsha/Shutterstock
    Dandelion syrup. © Ulyana Khorunsha/Shutterstock

Chris Naylor loves fresh air and adventure, and believes any day that doesn’t involve the great outdoors is a missed opportunity. He is passionate about inspiring others to get out into nature and to be curious about the world around them.

Chris Naylor pic

This is a recipe from Go Wild: Find freedom and adventure in the great outdoors by Chris Naylor, published by Summersdale.

Main image: Dandelion syrup. © Ulyana Khorunsha/Shutterstock


Goes well with