What do you do with a yard full of dandelions? You make jelly, of course! There are tons of things one can do with dandelions that doesn’t include spraying them. You can pick them, make crowns, necklaces, use them for food. To me, the lovely dandelion flowers are like nature’ sprinkles. Pull out the flowers and sprinkle them onto your food.
Before collecting the dandelions make sure you are harvesting from an area that is not tainted with chemicals. Here is a Wildcrafting Guide to help you get the best harvest you can, while also caring for the ecosystem.
Well, to get to the jelly…
On one of the first really warm days of Spring, beautiful little yellow dandelions are noticeable taking over the lawn. The kids and I get to work first thing in the morning collect dandelion flowers and pulling them from their bitter green base. When finally we get just enough flowers, the kids take off running to play by the river while I prepare the flowers for the next phase.
making the infusion
The kids know not to pass the fence if I am not out there with them, so they are patiently hovering at the fence staring hard at the river. I measure the water and put it in a pot to boil. The kids run in shouting, “Are you done yet? Can we cross the fence.” In my sweet motherly voice, I say, “does it look like I a done?” They moan and roll their eyes as they race back outside. Meanwhile, the water is coming to a boil. I pour it over the dandelion flowers and let them steep overnight. Now, the kids can go play by the river.
The next day
Now the real work begins. After sitting for 24 hours the infusion is ready! I begin to strain the infusion through a coffee filter to ensure none of the flowers go through. I suppose if you want the flowers in your jelly then by all means, keep them.
I sterilize my various sizes of jars and lids. Put all of the ingredient (see recipe below) except the sugar in a pot to boil. I stir and stir until the pectin has dissolved, then add the yummy sweet sugar and stir that until it dissolves. Quickly, I ladle the jelly into the jars, cap them, and patiently wait for them to cool and seal.
Last thing to do is eat the jelly up! My little helpers seem to really like the jelly. I like it with cream cheese on a toasted English muffin. We also make a Serbian pancake called palacinke, similar to crepes. Spread a little bit of jelly and roll them up. Bam! Best food ever.
- 2 cups fresh dandelion flowers
- 4 cups water, distilled
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 pouch powdered pectin
- 4 cups sugar
- jars & lids
- cheesecloth, coffee filter, or strainer
- Begin by picking the dandelion flowers. Gently shake any bugs and dirt away. You don’t need to wash the flowers. The flowers should be used fresh, so make sure you have time to pick, pull the flowers, and prepare the infusion.
- Now, that you’ve picked your flowers, its time to prepare the infusion. This is a way to make a strong tea. Bring the water to a boil. While this is happening in a quart size jar place the funnel over the opening and put the flowers in the jar. Once the water has boiled pour it over the flowers. Cap and let sit for about 24 hours.
- Your infusion is ready. It’s jelly time! Sterilize your jars and lids.
- Strain the infusion into a pot to remove the flowers. Compost the flowers.
- Add the lemon juice and the entire box of pectin to the pot. I use the pink box pectin (the one for lower amounts of sugar). Stir and bring to a boil.
- Add the sugar and bring to a boil. Stir so the sugar dissolves and let boil for about 2-3 minutes.
- While still hot using the funnel and ladle, pour the jelly into the jars and cap immediately.
- At this point you can do a water bath. I personally don’t do this but, not all my jar seal either. So, do the water bath.
- Wait another day before using the jelly to make sure the jars have sealed. Label the jars. Store the sealed jars in a dark cool place. Any jars that have not sealed store in the refrigerator and use first.
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For the water bath.
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