A simple pickle you can use for pickling unopened dandelion buds and making "capers". You can add the finished pickles to soups and sauces.
This is a variation on my original wild caper recipe, which at the end of the day is just simple pickle (the original is lacto-fermented). You can flavor the seasonings any way you like, but make sure to let them age a month or two before opening to age and let the flavors meld. Also, make sure to only pick the smallest, tightest dandelion buds, since mature ones will tend to open a bit as they sit in the pickling liquid.
You can use them just like you would regular capers, they're vinegar-salty punch add excitement to everything from salads to pickle plates, but my favorite it tossing them into a lemon-wine sauce for piccata, scallopine, or fish, or mixing in with tomato sauce and a bowl of pasta.
Canning your dandelion bud capers
You can also preserve these for long term storage by processing pint jars in a water bath canner for 10 minutes, some of the capers may open up a bit though since they get cooked through the canning process.
Another method is to simply pour boiling vinegar brine into the jars, filling the jars up to the brim. When the jars are completely filled, put on the covers and then immediately turn the jars upside down. When the jars are completely cooled, you'll find they have formed hermetic seals, just as if you'd used a water bath canner.
Making sure the buds are tender
Raw, pickled, or just fermented in brine, some capers will be great (nasturtium are my favorite), some will need a little help. Dandelion capers, if not canned in a water bath, should be simmered in water to make them tender, then chilled, and pickled or fermented.
Pickled Dandelion Capers with Ramps and Lemon
- 1 wide mouth pint mason jars
- 1 2 quart sauce pot
- 1.5 cups water
- 1.5 cups champagne vinegar or another vinegar you like
- 2 tablespoon kosher salt
- About 7 loosely packed cups of unopened dandelion buds you may be able to fit more in jars depending on the size of your buds
- 4 cleaned ramps green leaves removed
- 4 two inch pieces of lemon zest white pith removed
- Bring a pot of water to a simmer, then add the dandelion buds and cook until just tender, about 3-4 minutes, then drain and reserve.
- Meanwhile, heat together the water, vinegar and salt together until the salt is dissolved, then cool.
- Take the dandelion buds and fill half pint canning jars with them
- Press the buds down to decrease air pockets, in each jar place a piece of lemon zest and a ramp. Leave at least ½ inch to an inch of headspace in each jar.
- When you've pressed the buds down, fill the jars with the boiling vinegar brine, jostling them around with a toothpick to remove air pockets, then turn the jars upside down and cool, which should seal them, or refrigerate, and wait at least a few weeks before enjoying. See note.
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Sounds good- bet that recipe would work well with common cat's ear buds, too.
I have a (probably stupid) question. Do you pick these unopened buds when they first appear, or after they have opened, then closed again before opening up into seed?
Can't wait... I have a plethora of dandelion, are you buying ramps or finding them in Minnesota? I've planted some I brought back from North Carolina but they need to mature. Also, do you have anything to make with creeping Charlie....I've got a bunch of that too.
I found this recipe (link) on your latest post about venison. Amazing recipes. I am going to share this one at my page on Facebook @Lick My Dish Lovely recipes and ideas. I've been following for a couple of years now. Thought I'd drop you a line to show my appreciation. Onward...
Where we live, "ramps" are another name for wild leeks...is that what your recipe refers to?
After picking the buds (only the tightest/smallest) I could find, I washed them to remove grass bits and they bloomed while I prepped the rest of the recipe. I am using them anyway and hoping for the best. Do you think they will be bitter because of blooming?
You'll be fine. Make sure to taste them after a while for tenderness, if they're not tender to your liking, simmer them in the liquid for a bit and they'll soften. Most other capers don't have that issue with tenderness, only dandelions.
I'm new to pickling and recently made the fiddlhead recipe on this site as well. I was wondering why that recipe calls for pouring the pickling liquid into the jars when it's hot and then inverting the jars to seal the lids, but this recipe calls for pouring in the liquid once it is cooled and doesn't mention inverting the jars. Thanks!
Sorry that was unclear. I adjusted it to read better. See the note in the bottom of the recipe.
Thanks for the quick reply! Looking forward to trying these!
Have you ever tried making capers with the buds of bidens alba? I don't see many dandelions in my area, but those plants are everywhere.