How to make Dandelion Jelly
Okay, it’s a thing. Cooking with Dandelions. Apparently is a real big thing, all these plants in nature that you can cook with. Honeysuckles, lilacs, lavender, roses… all plants that I never considered to be edible. Or if they were, that was just plain weird and hippie to me (I know, don’t judge me okay? I compartmentalize in my brain, and this has been one of the areas that is not for me.) This has not been for me until recently, Jessica over @faithfulfarmwife was cooking with them.
Well, you know me. The wheels started turning, the images of a mess appeared in my brain, and the deliciousness of jelly came to mind and I was hooked. This week we have had a family fun time collecting dandelions. The girls had the best time doing it with me. Our cats even followed us. I am sure wondering what in the world their crazy people were doing now. Aren’t they adorable?
Next you just have to pull off the yellow part of the flower, the flower petals. To get technical it is actually called the ray floret. You disconnect it from the involucre-the green part and base. How is that for a biology lesson? Ha! I feel like I’m back in high school!!
Courtesy of Michigan Nature guy
For our dandelion jelly this is the only part of the plant we will use. However, there are many uses for all parts of the dandelion-just not what I’m needing today. We collected 2 cups worth of dandelion petals and then I covered them in 2 cups of boiling water.
I let it cool to room temperature then put in the refrigerator for two days. You don’t have to do this, it was just birthday weekend at our house, plus I was out of pectin so I just put it away.
Two days later I pulled them out and strained using a fine strainer (I use this with my tea when I have loose leaf).
I made sure to get to two cups of the Dandelion water-known as Dandelion Tea.
If you don’t have exactly enough just top it off with water. Now, continuing on with the jelly, bring the two cups of dandelion tea to boil. Boil, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
Then, add three tablespoons of Pectin (not a full pouch, so make sure and measure). Stir constantly and bring to a boil for one minute. Then, add the 2 cups of sugar and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Using a whisk stir together constantly until boiling. Boil for one minute. Take off of burner.
Now, we are going to start the canning process. Actually, a water bath. A water bath is just placing the jars in boiling water whereas pressure canning involves a pressure cooker. For jams and jellies, water baths are sufficient.
For this recipe I only need three pint jars. I put them in the boiling water to sanitize and raise their temperature. I also added the lids to heat.
I have a canning kit that has all of the tools I need. Super cheap and I use them all of the time. I got mine at Rural King several years ago, but here is the same kit from Amazon.
After several minutes in the boiling water, remove the jars using with a canning jar lifter and rubber grips. These are all in the kit. Then, using my funnel I poured the dandelion jelly into each jar making sure to leave at least ½ inch of head space (that’s just space at the top of the jar). After that, make sure and wipe off each top of the jars with a wet paper towel. If any jelly is left on the top ring, they will not seal. Make sure and do this every time you preserve food.
Next, I used my favorite tool in the canning process-the magnetic lid lifter. I absolutely love this. It’s weird I know. But do you know how many times I have almost burned myself trying to catch these out of the water with a fork? Or punctured the edges of the lid with a fork? This thing is my favorite. I lifted the lids out of the boiling water and placed them on the jars. Then, put the ring on the jars and tighten.
Now, it’s time to baby the jelly. Put it in the boiling water and give it a good water bath. Boiling water. The water doesn’t need to cover the jars, just go up a few inches on the jars. Let them bathe for 5 minutes. Then remove from their bath onto a cheesecloth.
I always use these cheese cloths. I don’t know why, but it makes me feel like a real domestic goddess-Like, I know what I’m doing. I guess because all of the ladies I know who do this stuff use them. It makes me feel official. It’s the little things right? Anyway, when preserving your food it is good to group them together when you take them out of the water bath or pressure cooker. It keeps the heat and your jars will seal faster. You won’t find this in a canning cook book but from seasoned ladies who have this mastered. Then you covered them up with another cheesecloth to once again insulate the jars.
Give it an hour or so and you will start hearing the pops of the jars sealing. Nothing makes you happier then hearing the sound of popping coming from the kitchen. Mine all sealed in under an hour this time. But it depends on the different jellies you are making for time of sealing. You know it is sealed when the lid is sucked in and when you tap it with your finger it does not bounce.
Job well done.
Now, time to eat. This dandelion jelly has a similar taste to honey. It is so sweet but has a tart snip to it.
You won’t find me doing honey bees. I leave that to my twin sister. I refuse to go anywhere near something that will sting me.
- 2 cups of dandelion flower petals
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups water
- 3 tablespoons pectin or Sure Jell
- 1 tbsp of lemon juice
- pinch of butter
- Pick dandelions and pull petals off
- Bring water to boil.
- Place dandelion petals in large jar or bow and cover with two cups of boiling water.
- Let stand until room temperature.
- Store in refrigerator up to two days.
- Strain dandelion water tea into a measuring cup. Make sure and get at least two cups.
- Place in a pan with 3 tablespoons of pectin stirring constantly. Boil for one minute.
- Add in pinch of butter.
- Bring to a boil for one minute.
- Add in sugar and whisk constantly til boiling.
- Boil for one minute.
- Remove from heat.
- Heat jars and lids in boiling water.
- Remove after 5 minutes then fill with jelly.
- Place lids and rings on jelly.
- Place jars in boiling water for 5 minutes.
- Remove jars from water bath and place touching.
- Then cover with a cheesecloth or towel.
So, what do you think? Are you up for the task? Are you going to try it? I have to say, this is a great way to get started in preserving your food. Using items out of your yard, it’s a definite cost efficient way to provide for your family. If you like this, make sure and check out how I save money on food and don’t buy vegetables all year long.