Friday, April 24, 2015

Dandelion Jelly

My father was very proud of his yard.  It was lush, green, impeccably mowed (a different direction each time so as not to get "ruts" and a dandelion would never show its face there.  Never.

So, if and when he ever reads this post he will be sure I have lost my mind.  Truly.

Yesterday I voluntarily went out to find and pick dandelion flowers so that I could make dandelion jelly.  To me at least, it was a fitting Earth Day project.  Take one of nature's undervalued wild flowers and turn it into something good to eat as well as something good for you.

It turns out dandelion flowers have a quite high nutritional profile.  They are rich in Vitamin A (an anti-oxidant),B6, C (an anti-oxidant), D plus calcium, manganese, magnesium, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, iron, potassium and zinc.  That's quite a nutritional power punch from a "weed".  Actually, botanists consider the dandelion flower an herb.  Now doesn't that sound better. :-)

I found the recipe I used as the base for the jelly I made at The Floyd Family Homestead Blog.  It is from her book Poverty Jelly:  Delicious Jellies for the Home From the Home.  Her recipe is as follows:

You Will Need:
1 – Quart of lightly packed Dandelion Flowers. Only use the yellow portion; try not to get any of the bitter greens of stem into the pot.  (Do your best.  I found it impossible to not get any but it worked OK still.)
2 – Quarts of Water
2 – Tablespoons of Lemon Juice
Zest of one Lemon
1 – Package of Pectin to 3 cups of yellow liquid
5 – Cups of Sugar
Boil the flowers in the water for about 10 minutes.
Cool and strain the liquid.
Add the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, the zest of one lemon and the 1 package of pectin to 3 cups of yellow liquid.
Bring to a rolling boil.
Add the 5 cups of sugar.
Mix well and return to a boil.
Pour into hot, sanitized pint jars and seal.
Allow to cool before storing.

I did make some changes to the recipe to take into account what I did and did not have here on the boat.
  • I did not have a lemon to zest so I used 3 Tbs. of bottled lemon juice and to add the flavor that would be missing due to the lack of the zest I used 1/4 tsp. mace and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • My pectin was for low sugar jam so I needed to use only 3 cups of sugar
The jelly set up beautifully and my taste tester, Mike, said it tasted like apple pie, something he loves.  I took that to mean we had a hit.  I now have 7 small jars of jelly. Two or 3 I will give as gifts and the others we will enjoy on toast or use as a base for marinades and sauces, and bastes for meats.

See Dad, dandelions aren't all bad.  Just wait till I tell you about my dandelion leaf pesto. :-)

No comments:

Post a Comment