This week brought more dandelions flowering in the grass. I spent an afternoon picking nice big open blossoms.
This is the first step in making Dandelion jelly.
I then found a nice spot to watch the horses play and pulled all of the petals. I was careful to keep out the green parts, they aren’t to tasty. The easiest way is to firmly hold the base and with my other hand hold the petals and give them a twist.
You will need about 4 cups of the flowers and when done this will equal about 2 cups of petals. Place the petals in a glass bowl and add 2 cups of boiling water, cover and let to sit overnight.
In the morning, strain the petals using cheese cloth and you should now have 2 cups of infused water. Squeeze the cheese cloth well to get all the water out. Put the petals in the compost pile. It’s ok to add a bit of water to make 2 cups.
Now you are ready to make jelly!
First check your jars for any cracks or chips and don’t use the bad ones out. Wash in hot soapy water the jars, lids and bands.
Place the jars and lids in pot, add enough water to fill the jars and cover them with 1/2″ of water. Boil for 10 minutes. Leave them in the water until you are ready to fill them. After 10 minutes I drain off a bit of the water so I can pick up the jars without using lifters, it’s still warm on the fingers though, but quicker for me. That is why you will notice in this picture that the water isn’t covering the jars, I already had poured out some of the water.
They make jar lifters that work well to lift the jars without burning your fingers. You will want to use new lids, the new canning guidelines tell us not to reuse lids. Again I do, but that is a decision you will need to make for yourself.
Grate the rind, it’s called zest, from one fresh large lemon. You will want to wash the lemon well first! Squeeze the juice from the lemon.
Place your infusion (2 cups) in a large stainless steel pot. To this add 4 1/2 cups of sugar, the lemon zest and 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, pulp and all.
Bring this to a boil, and follow the instructions on your package of pectin. Every brand will have different directions. I have found to use the amount and directions for apple jelly, 2 cups worth works well.
(My brand was Pamona Pectin and the recommended amount for 2 cups of juice was 2 Tbl. of pectin and 2 Tbl. of calcium water. The directions told me to mix the pectin with the sugar. Add the calcium water to the infusion. Bring the infusion to a boil and add sugar/pectin to this, boil for 2 1/2 minutes.)
Pour into hot jars and seal. You will want to leave 1/4″ space at the top of each jar. Before sealing jars use a clean cloth to wipe clean the rim and threads of the jar. Place the lid on the jar and screw on the band. Set on a clean towel to cool and seal.
The recommendation these days is to process the jars in a water bath for 10 minutes. I choose not to do this, but you decide what is best for you and your family.
I have also frozen the strained infusion and fresh petals with success. This might be usefull if you are having a hard time collecting enough petals at one time.
The infusion: the water to petal ratio should equal each other. If you have 1 cup of petals use 1 cup of boiling water.
If you find any cracked jars while you are washing them, toss these, they are unsafe to use even to store food in. Chips along the rim are ok to use for things other than canning. I like to store leftovers in jelly jars.
Anyone that knows me knows I can’t leave things alone. This recipe above is what I have been playing around with this year. In the past I always followed my Grandmother’s recipe. I tried adding the lemon zest and my family likes it quite well.
I also reduced the amount of sugar from 5 1/2 cups to 4 1/2 cups, the Pomona pectin allows the use of less sugar. I think this is a bit healthier for my family and it allows the Delicious honey taste of the flowers to be more noticeable and not the sickening sweet sugar taste. Keep in mind the less sugar you use the sooner your jam or jelly will mold once the jar is open.
I find the Pomona pectin to have a bit of a chalky taste in the jellies, but nothing to bad.
Some pectin still requires a good amount of sugar to work well. Again read the instructions on the package and the insert that came in the box.
I am also playing around with adding balsamic vinegar and black pepper corns to this recipe.
And most important, Rhonda Jean did a series, The Biggest Kitchen Table, with many helpful additional posts awhile back on canning and preserving. This is well work looking at, and printing out to add to your notes.
Did you notice I said to print it out. So much these days is posted one day then gone the next. This is worth keeping…
There are links from so many others who know what they are talking about too. Stop and check them out. You will be glad you did.