There are so many amazing ways in which to use dandelions, today I will talk about my most recent discovery....Dandelion jelly!
This stuff, right off the bat i will say, TASTES AMAZING. Its actually tastes just like honey. I was quite surprised becasue I have never had or made dandelion jelly before. But it can be paired very nicely on crackers, toast, in tea, or PB and J.
*** My jam turned out a bit different then yours will. I was silly enough to use a stick blender to blend my pectin DONT DO THAT. which caused a bunch of bubbles. I also walked away from my jelly while boiling and it boiled over and so... probably wont set into a hardened gel, more like a honey consistency, So also, DONT DO THAT. ****
So lets get started on this wonderful jelly recipe. Follow it exactly and do not make the mistakes that I had mentioned above and you will get a very nice clear yellow jam.
For this recipe you are going to need the following items before you start:
-water bath caner
- canning tongs
- cheese cloth
- measuring cups
- large pot
- caning jars and lids (makes about 5 1/2 pint jars)
- mixing spoon
- canning funnel
4 cups dandelion petals, lightly packed
8 cups water
8 cups sugar
4 Tbs. lemon juice
2 box powdered pectin
Start off by doing the fun part.... Collecting the flowers! Make sure that your source for flowers is from 100% non treated flowers, no chemicals, no pet use, and and no other human interference whatsoever. Finding a wild meadow someplace, or your untreated backyard is ideal. Pick a large bowl of them, and then separate the flower petals from the heads. If you have a little helper, even better!
Your flower head should now look something like this !
Once you have enough to fill 4 measured cups of dandelions, you are ready to make dandelion tea! Thats right, just a simple dandelion tea.
Boil 8 cups of water into the large pot.
once you have a steady rolling boil, turn the heat right off, and dump your petals right into the pot. remove from the heat and allow it to steep. once it completely cools down, which should take a few hours, you can strain out your petals.
use a cheese cloth draped over a jug, or pot. I always need an extra set of hands for this part. Pour your dandelion tea and petals into the cheese cloth and completely strain out the liquid.
After your liquid is poured into the cheesecloth you can ick it up ad squeeze all of the liquid out of the petals. The liquid can vary in color from light yellow to greenish.
The smell will be a bit like grass, but dont worry, the smell and taste with the finished product will be just like fresh honey ! Now thats done, measure out 8 cups of the liquid, if you need to top up with some extra water, thats ok !
Pour it all back into the large pot, add in 4 tablespoons of lemon juice (fresh or bottled works) , 2 boxes of powdered pectin and bring to a boil.
Now those are in, bring to a boil and stir! Please dont make the same mistake as me, and do not get impatient and use a stick blender to mix in the pectin chunks. You will end up with a cloudy bubbly jam.
If you are wondering why I include my mistakes in my blogs, its becasue WE ARE ALL HUMAN. I make mistakes , and so my blogs should not always be about the perfect recipe, or the perfect outcome. If I make a mistake, I am ok letting my readers know, this way, they can avoid those mistakes !
Now, measure out the sugar. The sugar is an important part of the jam, and so it should be made with a good quality sugar. If you know a thing or two about Monsanto, and their Frankenstein GMO products, you certainly dont want to be including GMO sugar beets into your jams.
I use a cheap, non GMO sugar, made from sugar cane, that you can easily purchase at Walmart! Many of the other big box stores only carry only a certain brand of sugar, Walmart just so happens to carry the non GMO brand. I dont normally advocate for Walmart, but in this case, it works out well !
Measure out 8 cups of sugar and pour it right into the pot. Make sure to stir, 1 to 2 minutes and then remove from the heat. Dont let it boil over like I did.
Make sure to have your jars ready from when you remove your jam from the heat. I run my jars and lids through a quick cycle on the dishwasher to keep them nice and hot while I prep the jam, and then take them out when I am ready to pour.
Start pouring your jam into the hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
Place the lids and screw the rings onto your jars, making them finger tight. Once the jars are filled, place them right into your already boiling water bath canner. Allow the bath to boil for 10 minutes, and then remove them from the water bath and place onto a towel for 24 hours to cool and for the seals on the lids to harden. A magical thing that happens in my kitchen every summer, is the sound of those lids popping... each pop is another jar of beautiful jam properly sealing shut.
The finished product- in my case its a bunch of bubble ridden jars of dandelion jam that I will freeze instead of store in the cuboard since I made the mistake of stick blending and making a ton of bubbles that I cannot get out. But yours should be a nice translucent clear yellow jam! I am making another batch and will post photos in the future to show what It should look like without the mistakes.
Either way, the jam still tastes DIVINE! This has got to be my favorite jam now. I am heading to the meadows right after this writing to collect more dandelion heads and freeze them for my next batch. I want this jam all year long :)