How to Make Dandelion Jelly
Dandelion in Bloom
A Little About Dandelion Plants
Whenever most people hear anyone mention dandelion, the first thing that pops into their head is the word weed. Dandelion has received a pretty bad rap over the years as an evasive weed that infects lush green lawns. While it is true that the plant can spread quickly, one of the things that we have forgotten in our quest for turf like yards is that dandelion is edible. The entire plant from blossom to root and it is actually quite nutritious.
The blossoms can be made into jelly, syrup and wine. The flavor is reminiscent of honey. The added sugar brings out the natural sweetness in the flowers but the pollen in the blooms provides a nice, crisp honey taste that is quite pleasing on the tongue. No food coloring is required because your finished product will be a nice, sunny natural yellow.
The dandelion leaves are a great addition to salads and steamed, like you would steam spinach or kale. They are quite nutritious and 1 cup of dandelion greens gives you a whopping 535% of the RDA of vitamin K, 114% of the RDA of vitamin A, 32% of the RDA of vitamin C, 10% of the RDA of calcium and 9% of the RDA of iron. With zero sugar of any kind and only 25 calories in that cup of greens, adding dandelion greens to your diet is quite beneficial to your health.
Moving on down to the roots, they require a little more preparation than the greens or the blossoms. Think of them like you would a carrot or other root vegetable. They will need to be peeled and the simplest way to cook them is by boiling them like you would a potato. The liquid can also be consumed as a tea or the roots can be dried and roasted as a coffee substitute.
Dandelion is an example of what I like to call a perfect food. It is completely edible from top to bottom. It has many excellent benefits, is nutritious and tastes pretty good. It's such a shame that such a beneficial, beautiful plant has gotten such a bad rap.
How to Make Dandelion Tea in PhotosClick thumbnail to view full-size
How to Make Dandelion Tea
The first thing you need to do before making your jelly is make the dandelion tea. There are many different ways to make this tea. This is the way that I make mine to get the dandelion blooms ready for making the jelly.
- Pick a little over a quart jar full of dandelion blossoms. You'll need 2 cups of the petals to make the tea.
- Remove the yellow petals from the blossoms. You can leave the blossoms whole if you do not want to remove the petals but the end result will have a bit of a bitter honey taste instead of a sweet honey taste. I remove the blossoms by taking my thumbnail and pressing into the center of the flower while dragging my nail to the outside of the flower. After doing this with a couple of the blossoms, you'll get a feel for how much pressure that you need in order to get the petals out.
- Once you have 2 cups of petals, put them into a sauce pan and add about 5 cups of water. Using medium high heat, cook the petals until they come to a boil.
- Boil the petals for 15 to 20 minutes then turn the heat off.
- Allow the petals to steep for a few hours or at least until the tea reaches room temperature. Steeping for a few hours will intensify the flavor. Do not try to save the petals in the water for longer than 24 hours. It will break down very fast, rot and REALLY smell bad. (I know this from experience, you don't want to smell this AT all.)
- Take a piece of cheesecloth and stretch it over a bowl.
- Dump the tea through the cheesecloth to remove the petals and allow the tea to through into the bowl.
- Squeeze any remaining liquid out of the petals by twisting the cloth. When you have all of the liquid out, the petals will be clumped together in one dry fibrous mass. It really reminds me of matted damp hair.
- Discard the petals.
- You are now ready to make your jelly.
Have you ever made homemade jelly?
Basic Waterbath Canner for Making Dandelion Jelly
Basic Jelly Making Tips
There's a few things that you will want to remember when making this jelly in addition to any other jelly that you decide to make.
- Never leave the stove when you are making jelly. Be sure to do things like going to the restroom before you start.
- Have everything ready and measured out before you start. Especially having the sugar measured out.
- Your jars should be washed and boiling in the waterbath before you start. Never pour hot liquid into cold jars because this can cause them to break.
- Always place hot jars onto a towel, never directly onto the counter top. Hot jars on a cool surface can break. This applies every time you remove the jars from the hot water in the canner.
All Times are Approximate and Do Not Include Cooking Time
Ingredients You Will Need to Make Dandelion Jelly
- 3 cups dandelion tea
- 4 1/2 cups sugar, Domino or Organic to avoid GMO sugar
- 1 box powder pectin
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
How to Make Dandelion Jelly in PhotosClick thumbnail to view full-size
How to Make Dandelion Jelly
- Measure out 3 cups of the dandelion tea and put it into a saucepan. Turn on burner heat to medium/high.
- Add the 1 box of powdered pectin and the lemon juice.
- Stir constantly until mixture comes to a boil.
- Add the sugar all at once and stir.
- Keep stirring until the mixture comes to a full rolling boil, meaning it continues to boil while you are stirring it.
- Set your timer for 1 minute and keep stirring.
- At the end of the 1 minute, turn off the heat.
- Remove your jars from the waterbath.
- Ladle the hot jelly into the jars leaving 1/4" headspace at the top.
- Wipe the edges of the jars with a hot, wet paper towel to remove any of the jelly that may have gotten onto the rim.
- Put the lid and ring on each jar and tighten finger tight.
- Put the filled jars into the waterbath canner and bring it back up to a boil. Set the timer for 15 minutes.
- Once the time is up, remove the jars from the waterbath and place on a towel someplace where they won't be disturbed and away from any drafts for 24 hours so they can seal.
- Once the 24 hours has passed and all jars have sealed, open one and enjoy your dandelion jelly!
© 2014 Helena Ricketts