Dandelion Jelly, and the beginning of the foraging season
Dandelions are amazing, and delicious. All the dandelions I picked yesterday, I picked from my lawn, and it was enough to make an entire batch of dandelion jelly.
For Christmas last year, I was given “The Boreal Herbal, Wild Food and Medicine Plants of the North” by Beverley Grey, and I love it to pieces (okay, well, it’s not in pieces yet…)
Living in the boreal forest, a lot of the traditional herbal books don’t always apply up here, because we have different plants than down south, or different varieties of plants – mountain sorrel vs sheep sorrel, etc.
Anyhow, this recipe is straight out of that book.
Dandelion jelly has a light, honey-like taste and is great on its own, or added to other sauces and vinaigrettes.
4 cups (1L) dandelion petals
2 1/2 cups (625mL) cane sugar
2 TBSP (30mL) lemon juice
1 package (57g) powdered pectin
4 cups (1L) water
You must pick 8 to 10 cups of dandelion blossoms to have 4 cups (1L) of dandelion petals. After you remove the green base of each dandelion flower you will be left with approximately 4 cups (1L) of yellow petals.
Add the petals to the water and simmer for 5 minutes, set aside to steep until the infusion reaches room temperature.
Strain to remove the petals. This should provide you with 3 cups (750mL) of dandelion-petal infusion.
In a large saucepan, combine dandelion-petal infusion, lemon juice and pectin, and stir until pectin is dissolved. On high heat bring to a full rolling boil for 1 minute.
Add the sugar, stirring until it dissolves, bring the mixture back to a full rolling boil that can’t be stirred down. Boil hard for at least 1 minute.
The jelly is ready when it coats the back of the spoon and has a syrup-like consistency. You can check by placing a teaspoon of the jelly on a plate and letting it cool: the surface should wrinkle when pushed with your finger. If still runny, put the mixture back on heat and continue boiling and testing, until the jelly sets.
Skim off any foam on top of the jelly.
Pour into jars, leaving 1/4 inch (0.5cm) headspace. Secure the lid and seal.
Makes approximately 5 cups (1 1/4L).
I just love the way the sun filters through it, making it look like bottled sunshine. I taste tested it last night before I bottled them, and it’s got a really light, lovely flavour, and I want to introduce the entire world to dandelion jelly now.
And a word to the wise: taking the green bottoms off of dandelion petals is incredibly tedious. Alarmingly tedious. I picked 8 cups of flower heads yesterday, and after an hour and a half of degreening them, I was left with just over four cups. But it took an HOUR AND A HALF of taking the greens off. A better alternative would be to bring scissors with you when you forage, and cut the flowers, not at the top of the stem, but at the base of the flower bud, so the bud stays behind, and all you get are the little delicate dandelion petals.
Or if you enjoy tedium, try it my way.
Also, I got slightly less than 5 cups, but I boiled mine down for a while.