This was intended to be dandelion jam, but it didn't set properly. This was the first time that I've used pectin in anything, so I'm not exactly sure what I did wrong. What I do know, however, is that the syrup that I ended up with is delicate and floral and a good substitute for honey.
I was inspired to give this a try by Phelan over at A Homesteading Neophyte; once I started looking around the web, I realized that this thing I had never heard of was actually quite popular. Martha Stewart's website even has a recipe.
You start by gathering up as many dandelion flowers as you can find, at least enough to make four packed cups. It's important that you avoid areas that have been treated with chemicals and stay away from roasides, which are drenched in runoff. The next step is to separate the flower petals from the green leaves (which will make your jam bitter if left in). I found this to be incredibly satisfying. For me, there is something very pleasurable in ripping apart perforated paper; pulling out the petals had the same noise and feel. Methodical and relaxing.
Next, you will need to rinse the petals well.
4 cups dandelion petals (white and yellow parts only)
Juice and zest of one lemon
4 cups boiling water
4 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 packet of powdered pectin
After bringing the water to a boil, add the petals.
Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
Remove from heat, add lemon juice and zest.
Refrigerate overnight to allow the petals to infuse the water.
The next day, strain the petals out of the water, squeezing them to get all of the water out.
Throw the flowers in the compost.
Measure the dandelion water. You should have 3 cups, add water if necessary.
Bring the dandelion water and sugar to a boil, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar.
Add pectin and boil for an additional 1-2 minutes.
Allow to cool slightly.
Pour into glass jars and refrigerate for several hours until set.
You could process these in a water bath if you want to store them. They'll keep in the refrigerator for several weeks, though, and I figured that I would use mine up before it had a chance to go bad!
If you want dandelion syrup, you use the same process, but exclude the pectin. Or, just make some sort of unidentified mistake along the way (like I did!).