Adapted from Wildcraft Vita's recipe
1/3 c. dandelion buds (or more or less... it takes a long time to find the perfect low to the ground fully closed buds)
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp salt (plus some for soaking)
white vinegar to fill teensy caper-sized jar
This is a multi-tasking opportunity.
Take your weeding tool of choice and hoik out dandelions from your garden or lawn. Remove the tiny dandelion buds... these are the buds at the base of the plant, not the ones that have started to rise up in the air. Discard the rest of the plant, but not into your composter (unless you want to exponentially increase your dandelion crop in future).
Remove stem and dark green outer leaves (caribougrrl would like to point out that these are the sepals, not technically leaves).
Soak buds in salted water for 5-10 minutes to get rid of any bugs that might be there. Strain and put into the bottom of small but clean and dry jar.
Sprinkle sugar and salt over buds. Let sit for a while. Do some more multi-tasking of some nature. When you remember the sugared and salted buds, fill the jar with vinegar and put the lid on.
Let sit at room temperature for 2-3 days, then keep in fridge. They are ready to eat within a week. Don't store for too long, but they are in salt and vinegar so don't panic.
We LOVE quick pickles. We love capers. When we heard that pickled dandelion buds were kind of like capers, we were all over that.
Pickle 'em quick and eat 'em quick. That's our motto (at least since Fefe read Carol Sheild's novel Larry's Party). We do sometimes make shelf preserves, but Fefe is terrified to serve those to other people, we keep all the risk within the household.
At any rate, we were partly surprised to taste them and find out they really are like capers. So save yourself the $3 a jar and use them like you would use capers (with smoked fish, pasta puttanesca, tapanade, pizza...). They make a lovely garnish for a dandelion martini.