Dandelion Jelly? YES! I’ve always been a sucker for dandelions. I know most people outgrow their soft-hearted affection for the little yellow ‘weed’ but I haven’t. Dandelions just make me happy. This recipe for Dandelion Jelly is a good one. It’s a beautiful yellow colored jelly that takes somewhat like honey (lighter though) with a bit of an ‘earthy’ undertone.
4 cups dandelion petals (just the yellow flower, no green leaves or stem) used to make
3 cups dandelion tea (see below for directions)
4.5 cups sugar
1 box pectin
Makes 6-7 half pints
Collecting the Dandelions:
First, you need to collect about 10 cups of dandelions (the yellow flower head).
Here’s some helpful tips I learned about the dandelion collection process:
1. Go early. Dandelions tend to fold up and close down shop later in the day. You want them with petals fully exposed for easier harvesting.
2. Collecting THAT many dandelions covers your hands with sticky pollin. It’s good to bring a wet washcloth or handy wipes with you to clean up after it’s all over.
3. Choose dandelions that are growing AWAY from heavily trafficked areas. You don’t want to eat all that car exhaust gunk! Also, make sure the places you’re collecting haven’t been sprayed with chemicals!
4. Dandelion pollen will stain your plastic bowls, so keep that in mind when choosing which bowls to use (My big white Tupperware bowl now has big yellow polka dots inside).
After your flowers are collected, you need to separate the petals from the greens. You’re after just yellow petals here–the greens are bitter.
****BELOW IS AN UPDATED WAY TO DO IT….much easier than the popular cutting them off and with less green matter….trial and error taught me this one!****
Break the bulb of the head open and pluck the petals out. I find this to be an easier way to get petals without any greens at all (easier than the popular way people say to do it–cutting the petals off and digging the greens out)….this way leaves virtually NO greens in the end, which is the goal.
From that huge collection of dandelions, you need to get 4 cups of petals. Once your petals are measured, put them in a big bowl and pour boiling water over them. This will create a dandelion ‘tea’ that will be used in the jelly making.
Let this tea seep overnight.
(I have to admit at this point in the process, I was worried. The ‘tea’ smelled like freshly mowed grass.
Granted, I LIKE the smell of freshly mowed grass, but not to EAT. However, after the tedious process of harvesting dandelion petals, I wasn’t about to quit!)
In the morning, strain the petals through a cheese cloth or a coffee filter (I used wet paper towels). Now you have dandelion tea and you’re ready to make jelly.
(Before you start this recipe, prepare your equipment first. Visit the Canning section for more information on how to prepare your supplies for canning as well as post-processing.)
Add 3 cups of tea to a saucepan. If you don’t have enough tea, add water to make 3 cups.
Stir in 4.5 cups of sugar and 1 box of pectin.
Bring mixture to a boil and boil for 2 minutes.
Ladle into hot, prepared jars and process for 10 minutes (or more, depending on altitude). See Canning section for more information.
I took a little taste of the mixture before I boiled it, and, I have to admit, it wasn’t too tasty. Kind of weedy. It was also pretty dark (darker than pictures I’ve seen of the finished product)…but it lightened in color as it cooked.
The recipe I used said that it would make four 1/2 pint jars, but I found it made 6-7 1/2 pint jars (I made 2 batches).
The first batch foamed a LOT while I was boiling it, so I decided to use 1/2 teaspoon butter in the second batch to reduce the foaming…however, that batch didn’t set up as well.
The final results of the dandelion jelly were great. It’s a light, soft set jelly with a sweet, honey-like taste. Everyone that’s tasted it has been surprised that they liked it.
Yes, the pre-prep work is a bit tedious, but the results are wonderful…and it gives you a great, unique gift to share with others!
The finished product…sunshine in a jar!