Spring has finally sprung here in Wisconsin! Birds are singing, my tulips are blooming, and planting season is getting into full swing. I don’t know about you, but the promise of renewal this time of year gets me really motivated. I am constantly surprised by the new things that I learn as I delve deeper into the homesteading lifestyle. Spring also means that early things are popping up that can be harvested and put up to larder: morel mushroom season, violet season, and dandelion season.
Turns out that dandelions make a delicious jelly! Seriously! The boys are in love with it. You’re probably wondering how it tastes, am I right? The flavor is that of a floral honey; a perfect spring sweet treat. It tastes great on some toast, and it is now Becker’s favorite for PB&J.
Before I delve into this recipe, I wanted to share with you my wonderful gift I received over Easter. We visited my grandmother up north for the holiday, and she passed down 4 cases worth of canning jars from her own collection! It was a wonderful surprise and truly a treasured gift! I remember several of these unique jars holding her delicious Strawberry-Rhubarb jelly growing up. They definitely got me excited for the canning season ahead!
Of course, to start this recipe you’ll need to harvest dandelions. While we are currently urban farmers, and they are plentiful in our neighborhood, I don’t recommend picking your dandelions in the city. Unfortunately, neighbors and city workers spray weed-killers this time of year, and I don’t want that in my jelly or my belly. Luckily for us, my father lives close by and he has a large, dandelion-infested, weed-killer-free lawn that he let us harvest from.
Get your kids involved! And if your husband is as amazing as mine, he’ll get in on the action, too! Of course, he’ll likely turn it into a competition…that he’ll win.
It’s best to pluck just the heads off when harvesting. This will make the next step easier. You want only the petals of the dandelions, as the green parts will give the jelly a bitter flavor.
I recommend setting yourself up a little work station for the next part. I won’t lie; this part takes a while. There are a few ways you can do this: 1) use a scissors and snip off the greenery and then pull the petals out; 2) hold the greenery bump in one hand and pull the petals off with the other hand. I found the second method to be a little faster.
For the recipe you will need 3 cups of dandelion petals.
Pour just enough boiling water over the petals to cover them completely.
Cover the bowl (I used plastic wrap) and let it steep overnight.
It is not the prettiest sight the next morning! But you have just brewed the dandelion tea that is the base for the jelly.
Strain the liquid from the petals. I used a fine mesh metal strainer and strained right into a measuring cup. You could also use cheesecloth or coffee filters. You’ll need 3 cups of dandelion tea. If you are a little short of the 3 cups, just add more water to get there. (P.S. Don’t you just love my new farm apron? I got it at Fluffy Layers and I just love their products! I also choose to shop small whenever possible.)
For the jelly recipe, you will need:
- 3 cups dandelion tea
- 1 box of pectin
- 4 1/2 cups of sugar
- 2 TBSP lemon juice
Considering that it has been a while since my last canning post, I thought I would give you a full tutorial on the process again. Always start by washing your jars in hot soapy water. I move them right to my large water bath canning pot to boil until needed. This sanitizes them for use, and keeps them hot until you need them. Remember when canning hot food needs hot jars. You also need to sanitize the lids and bands. I put them in a second pot of boiling water until use.
Start by pouring your dandelion tea into a large pot. Notice my lids and bands are boiling already, and my jars are in my canning pot.
Stir in the lemon juice and pectin. Continue stirring until the pectin is dissolved. Bring the pot to a boil.
Once boiling, add your sugar. Stir until dissolved. Feel free to whisk if necessary. Allow the mixture to come to a hard boil that can’t be stirred down. Boil hard for 2 minutes.
This is a hard boil that can’t be stirred down; it is a very important part of the process as it allows the pectin to work it’s magic. Do not let it boil over! If necessary, turn your heat down after the hard boil starts, but still boil for 2 minutes.
After that you are ready to can! This is how I set up my station. I remove my hot jars and place them on a dishcloth. Jelly in front, with hot lids and bands behind. I recommend a ladle and funnel if you have them.
Skim off the filmy gunk and throw it away. Using the ladle works fine.
Ladle the hot jelly into the hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch of head space. Jason bought me this wonderful new canning funnel that shows that head space on it. Before I had it, I used the rim of the jar for measuring.
Fill all of your jars. Doesn’t it come out as the prettiest color?
Notice that even when using a funnel, a little mess will happen.
It is important for the jars to seal to wipe the rims before placing on the lid and band. I find a damp paper towel works best. Place on your lid and twist the band to fingertip tight.
Process the jars in the water bath canner for 10 minutes. Remember that your boiling water needs to cover the jars by at least an inch.
Remove jars to a canning rack (or dishcloth) and let them sit overnight. Check your lids the next day to make sure they have sealed. If any have failed, move those to the fridge and eat within the month. The rest can be stored for a year.
And enjoy your jelly! It makes a beautiful gift and a wonderful sweet treat! Becker’s teachers each received a jar this week for Teacher Appreciation Week and they are excited to try it! Jason’s coworkers tried it and the chef wants to make it into BBQ sauce – sounds yummy!
As I know I appreciate them, I’m going to start including recipe cards for you guys when I show you these tutorials! Please feel free to print off a copy to add to your recipe box.
|Susan’s Recipe For:
Yields: 6 – 8 oz jars of jelly
If you’d like a printable version of the recipe, click here for a PDF: SusansRecipeForDandelionJelly.
I’d love to hear what you are most excited to start putting up this season! Drop me a comment down below or catch me on IG as tacklemayhem_susan. As always, have a beautiful and blessed day!