Couldn't resist the urge to try and capture the sun in a jar last week! While heading out to change the church billboard, it was necessary to walk through a beautiful patch of dandelions. After just seeing a recipe for dandelion jelly... I knew what must be done. So I found a shopping bag in my car and began picking!! Hope you all have been eating plenty of dandelion greens and drinking dandelion tea since our May 25th post last year. There are so many nutritional benefits! (For details, check it out in the Food & Recipes blog category.) I have now discovered a sweeter way to enjoy this herb. A couple of jars from my first batch of dandelion jelly are pictured above. This was a fun project for a sunny and warm Texas winter day! I'm going to share the recipe, along with some pointers, so you too can enjoy a jar of sunshine!
The first step is to locate a dandelion patch, if you don't already have one growing in your yard. If you don't, go ahead and collect some seeds to start your own patch.
The next step is to begin pinching off the beautiful blooms. But watch out for the bees! You will have a little competition during your harvest. If you pinch them off at the top of the stem, you will save a little time later by not having to remove the stem during processing.
Take your little jewels home and let the fun begin as it is now time to remove the flower from the calyx. This takes time and patients. Not to mention A LOT of blooms in order to get a quart of flowers!!
Now that the most time consuming part is done, it's time to begin the canning process. The recipe below is pretty straight forward. If you don't have enough flowers, just make some adjustments in the recipe. As far as "well packed" flowers, I decided they laid dense enough in the quart measuring jar without being packed in. You might want to prepare more jars than necessary for the four half-pint yield noted in the recipe. I was able to can a little over 5 half-pints.
Happy canning and God Bless!
Dandelion Jelly Recipe
1 quart dandelion flowers, well packed (remove stem and calyx)
1 quart water
1.75 ounce package pectin (MCP)
2 TBSP fresh squeezed lemon juice
4 1/2 cups sugar
3-4 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
Warm, sterile canning jars
1. Boil flowers in water for 3 minutes
2. Strain through muslin (or clean nylon knee highs) for 3 cups of juice
3. Add pectin and lemon juice. Stir until pectin is completely dissolved
4. Bring to a rolling boil
5. Add sugar and food coloring. Bring back to a fast, furious, climb-up-the-side-of-the-pot boil and maintain for 2 minutes
6. Remove from heat, quickly skim the foam off the top and pour into waiting jars.
7. Seal according to standard canning procedures
Makes about 4 half-pint jars.