Dandelion Jelly Recipe Discovery!*

                      
Dandelions taste yummy as jelly, who knew?
Bon matin world,
I am sharing a recipe that comes from teaspoonofspice.com for a special dandelion jelly that you need to experience; at least once in your life. 
As you know, I have been homesteading, and canning is my latest kitchen love affair. Poppa Bear is alright with this as he gets to taste the "fruits" of my labors-don't pardon the pun.
                  
It's truly fabulous, we were all a tad bit unsure as these weeds are usually frowned upon and seen as more of a horrible nuisance than a delightful bloom.
As it's spring and the chill allowed for flowers and weeds to come out a bit later than usual, I had a safe amount of time to pick these yellow flowers/weeds, to try this new fangled recipe I had stumbled across. I had never ever heard of dandelion jelly before and was truly curious and admittedly, slightly nervous. 
I had eaten organic dandelion greens when I had worked in a health food store years ago, can you say B-I-T-T-E-R? 
Whoa la! 
The tea I had also tested was a bit better and it's a diuretic, so I thought it was an okay thing to try. But I had not really enjoyed dandelion. Now it's years later and I am out picking them for jelly making, the inter web had assured me it would not be bitter at all. 
I went out when we had some bright and warm sunny weather and gathered from our back lawn. It was a carpet of dandelions and I preferred to snag them from there as no dogs had pee or poop time on them; and I knew they were pesticide free. Important things to consider when you are going to be ingesting anything you pick.
So, here's the thing that nobody is going to tell you about making dandelion jelly. You only use the petals, you need 3-4 Cups of them depending on the recipe, and it is a long process to get those petals out. I am serious! 
It took hours to get enough petals to make one small batch. It's tedious work because you have to pull the petals out from the green part, you cannot have any of it as it will make the jelly cloudy and bitter-ugh! This means 3 or so hours (get someone to help) of gently but firmly pulling, plucking, removing, and admittedly some yucky yellow stained hands. There may have been some doubts at the midway point, as to why I had foolishly taken up this task. 
Be warned, get comfy, listen to some good jams, and have beverages on hand. We sat out back in the shade under the tree and it took about 3-4 hours to get the 4 cups I used. I have been kind enough to provide you with a different recipe from the one I made, which only uses 3 cups. Trust me, you will appreciate it by the second cup of dandelion petal separating. 
Despite all the irritating time it took, I must say, that I was pleased to have tried this as the recipe yielded a delightful and novel taste; that was uniquely addictive.
Enjoy it!


Dandelion Jelly
Makes About 5 1/2 cups
Ingredients
  • 3 cups packed very fresh dandelion blossoms (from unsprayed plants!)
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups sugar (don't use less or jelly won't gel)
  • 1 box powdered pectin for less sugar recipes
  • 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice (fresh lemons have varying acidity - so us bottled)
  • 1 drop yellow food coloring if desired (without this coloring is a bit more greenish)
Directions
  1. Using your thumb fingernail, cut and pluck the yellow blossom out of the tiny green leaves holding it. (Your thumb will get sticky and the flower will separate into petals.) Remove as much of the green as possible because green is bitter and turns the jelly green; I had just a tiny bit of green on almost each blossom.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add 1 1/2 cup blossoms; turn down to low and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off water and steep for about 15-20 minutes. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain out and gently push on blossoms to remove some of the water. Add water back to saucepan and bring to a boil. Add remaining blossoms; simmer for 10 minutes and strain out blossoms, pressing to remove water.
  3. Measure steeping liquid to 3 cups; add sugar, pectin, lemon juice and food coloring and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil for 1 minute, then skim off foam with a wooden spoon.
  4. Pour into hot sterilized half-pint jars leaving 1/4-inch headspace and store in the refrigerator - or process according to canner manufacturer's instructions.
Notes
This great idea is from the cookbook "Cider Beans, Wild Greens, and Dandelion Jelly." If you can't collect enough dandelion blossoms at one time, freeze your collection until you have enough.
Use the jelly on lemon scones, crackers with goat cheese or cream cheese, warmed to glaze BBQ chicken, in salad vinaigrette or almost any way you use honey. 

Here are pics of my dandelion adventure:
                    
I steeped my petals overnight in the fridge after letting them cool on the counter for about 2 hours. 
                    
I used liquid pectin as I was out of the powdered kind, do what works for you just make sure your liquid to sugar ratio works with your amount of pectin or else it won't gel. I also used 1/4 Cup of lemon juice in my recipe and would highly recommend using fresh juice in place of bottled if you can. The gelling will be much better. I also did not need any added colour as steeping the petals overnight yielded a stronger colour.
                     
As it was my first time ever making jelly and canning, I used some mason jars and some jars with lids I had on hand. I did the whole sterilizing thing before, as well as processing them according to a Bernardin canning book I have and their website info I had researched. The bottom right pic above lid is being pointed to because I had not noticed the ding in it. It turned out that one jar ended had some water seepage. 
It's okay, we sacrificed ourselves and ate that one as a tester. The recipe had jelled so well that I was easily able to drain the excess water when it was cool enough to handle.
                   
So, taste wise I am going to give this a solid 4 out of 5. It's a four because the first bite was initially a bit stronger than expected, slightly off putting but the more we chewed the more we like it and the more we wanted. Yeah, it was a cool experience and I will definitely make more which I will give as gifts, sell in my soon to come Etsy shop, and I may have a giveaway or two that will include a jar of this.  
                       
I tried it on plain toast and on toast with cream cheese, the taste was slightly 
honeyesque with earthy notes and a sweet deep finish. Very pleasant. 
                
You need to try this out and get the little one's involved in helping you to pick the dandelion heads. As a child I used to bring my mother dandelions to show her I loved her, not realizing they were considered a yuckie weed. She would say thank you and put them in water to let me know she was happy I was showing her love with something I thought was beautiful. They always seemed to vanish before the next morning though. Times have changes, now she appreciates my picking them as the jelly is something I give as a gift, and it disappears quickly for entirely different reasons.
             
Leave questions or comments down below and let me know if you try this out. I love to hear about your kitchen adventures, don't forget to subscribe and God bless!  

*Repost from my blog The Kinky Coconut 5/31/2016
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