When I see the dandelions, I know that spring has finally made its way here. It’s a time of warmer weather, more sunshine and getting the garden ready for the growing season. What better way to welcome in a new season than to preserve it.
I was telling my friend, Daisy Luther about all of the dainty dandelions popping up in my yard and she passed along a recipe for dandelion jelly for me to try from her upcoming book, The Organic Canner.
My daughters and I went out and picked 10 cups of dandelions blossoms and had the most wonderful time talking about what went on during our day. The hardest part of this was cutting the stems from the blossoms. It was, after all 10 cups worth of blossoms. But I was determined to try this recipe out, and I harvested blossoms until my fingers turned yellow from the petals. The process was easy and the result is delicious! Now that I have made this, it has become one of my top favorite jellies. It has a taste and color that resembles honey, and is delicious on baked goods, or as a topping in your oatmeal.
Next time you see dandelions in your yard, don’t run them over with the lawn mower! Remember, they are edible and pick them to use in recipes.
Dandelion Blossom Jam
If you are lucky enough to live in (or visit) an area that you are absolutely certain does not spray pesticides, you can join the bees and enjoy some Dandelion Nectar – except yours will be in the form of jam.
Set forth on an expedition to pick dandelions. You only need the tops – the yellow flowers – break them off right at the top of the stem. Pick 10-12 cups worth of blossoms. Your kids will think it is great fun initially, but then they’ll get bored and you will have to pick the rest.
• 10-12 cups of dandelion blossoms
• 4 ½ cups of sugar
• 2 tbsp of lemon juice
• 1 packet of no-sugar-needed powdered pectin
1. Prepare the blossoms by pinching them between your fingers and snipping off the green part with scissor.
2. Place the petals in a large glass bowl and cover them with 4 cups of boiling water. That’s it for today – you’re going to sleep while the petals brew up a golden yellow dandelion tea at room temperature.
3. The next morning, drain the tea through a coffee filter into another container. You should have 3-4 cups of dandelion tea.
4. (Now is the time to put a wet spoon into the freezer for jam testing!)
5. Pour the strained tea into a saucepan and stir in the lemon juice.
6. In a bowl, mix ½ cup of sugar with the packet of pectin.
7. Stir the sugar/pectin mixture into the saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. As soon as a boil is reached, stir in the rest of the sugar and continue to boil for about 2 minutes.
8. Test your jam – if the consistency is right, remove it from the heat, and immediately ladle it into sanitized jars. If it is too thin, add some more pectin from a fresh packet, about a tbsp. at a time and re-test after another minute.
9. Lid your jars and process them in a water bath canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude.
You’ll be left with a topaz-toned honey-like substance that will give you a new understanding of the minds of bees.
If for some reason, your jelly doesn’t thicken, no worries! You’ve just made a version of dandelion honey and it is great to use in lieu of honey or jelly. You can also bake with it.
Be sure and keep an eye out for Daisy’s upcoming book, The Organic Canner – it’s sure to be a great resource!