I decided to make some dandelion jelly last weekend. It turned out delicious – it had the warm honey flavor that I had read about. I looked up a number of recipes online and ultimately settled on the following, a blend from a few different sources:
I easily clipped about 4-5 cups of dandelion heads from our yard (this filled my salad spinner – next time I’ll measure them out to get a better idea). This produced about 2 cups of petals (no greens). I snipped off the bottom/base of the flower and then removed the little green parts from the yellow petals – discarding the greens and keeping the yellows. I discovered, by accident, that it was easier to extract the petals after they had been refrigerated overnight because they closed a little bit. In terms of time commitment, it took about 30-45 minutes to gather the dandelions and at least another hour to separate the petals from stems. This website was particularly helpful: http://www.simplycanning.com/dandelion-jelly.html. As the process became tedious, I tried to look at it this way: for many things I harvest from my garden, the time investment is in the growing process (starting seeds indoors, preparing the garden bed, transplanting and pampering the plant as it grows). For the dandelions, I did not have to spend any time at all in the growing process – all my time investment was in the harvesting!
- 2 heaping cups of dandelion petals (stems and greens removed)
- 4 cups water
Bring water to a rolling boil. Add dandelion petals and turn off heat (I left the pot on the hot burner). Seep for 8 hours, until tea was room temperature. Strain and reserve the tea. I was not able to make the jelly right away, so I refrigerated the strained tea for 2 days until I was able to make the jelly.
- 3 cups dandelion infusion
- 1 package (1.75 oz) powdered fruit pectin
- 4.5 cups sugar
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- Combine dandelion infusion, lemon juice, and pectin. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat – stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute then …
- Add sugar and bring back to a rolling boil (this took a little bit of time). Boil for 1-2 minutes then remove from heat (stirring constantly).
In terms of the process for canning the jelly, I carefully followed the National Center for Home Food Preservation‘s guidelines, as this was my first canning attempt in a long time. Their document, Processing Jams and Jellies was especially helpful. I boiled my ball jars for 10 minutes to sterilize them, while the jelly was cooking. The lids were in a hot water bath (but not boiling). Then I filled the jars as specified, replaced the lids, and tightened the bands just to finger-tight. We then processed the jars for another 5 minutes in the boiling water.
Some recipes recommended adding some food coloring, but I opted not to – the natural golden color is beautiful!
Other helpful websites:
Next, I want to try to make violet jelly from my Johnny Jump Ups (http://www.healthygreenkitchen.com/violet-jelly.html or http://bloomingglenfarm.com/blog/recipes/johnny-jump-up-jam or http://chickensintheroad.com/cooking/violets-and-dandelions-bbb/) I already have some flowers clipped and in the freezer!