Think Spring: How To Make Dandelion Jelly
Have you ever heard of such a thing? It will blow your mind how fantastic the flavor is!
It’s absolutely a delightfully honey tasting experience! I think most of us understand that dandelions have a bad rep for being a “weed” yet it has so many benefits for us gardeners, homesteaders and whatever you want to call yourself! Dandelions are one of the first flowers to be blooming early on in spring. It means that the bees will be coming out and feeding on their first spring food. I also remember when I was a child, my grandma Sofia would always sprinkle some petals into salads. You can also use the greens for salads and sauteing. I tried to sautee them and was not a fan though! I tried!
I am a novice jelly maker and have definitely learned many things when I made a jelly for the first time. To not bore you, I will put those learning experiences at the end of the directions.
Step 1: Harvesting and Prepping Dandelions
These beautiful plants must not be harvested where you know that they or the lawn have been treated with herbicides or any other chemicals. It’s poison, let’s not ingest that. Avoid harvesting near the road or where pets go to the bathroom.
Gather the dandelion flowers, not the stems. Do you have kids? Let them help you pick! How much should you harvest? I filled a medium sized basket which was perfect because I had to remake a batch of jelly. Plus, you definitely want more than a few jars of this goodness.
TIP: When harvesting the flowers and also separating petals from the greens, I recommend some kind of rubber gloves. The pollen and greenery stains up your fingers.
Once harvested, you must remove the greenery from the petals. Wearing gloves, I removed these by hand, pulling the yellow out and it comes out pretty uniformly. Some people use scissors to cut it away from the greenery. In this method, you will have some green in your batch and I wanted to avoid that as much as possible because it will make your jelly bitter.
TIP: sit in a comfortable position for this step and have a helper! You can do this while binging your favorite show!
You are gonna love it and it will be so worth it when you have this delicious jelly! So, are you up for it?
- Large bowl
- Large pot
- Stirring utensils
- Jar lifter
- Sterilized canning jars and lids. How to Sterilize Cans
- 1 packet of powdered pectin
- Lemon juice (bottled is good)
- 4 cups sugar
- Water bath canner
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
Step 2: Make Dandelion Tea
Measure out 2 cups of dandelion petals, pour 4 cups of boiling water on top of them in a bowl. Let it cool down, cover it and then put in the fridge for 24 hours to steep. The tea will darken and that is normal.
Then, strain the tea from the petals (you can use a cheesecloth) and squeeze out all the liquids.
Step 3: Cook The Jelly
Measure out 3 1/2 to 4 cups of the tea and pour it into a large pot, add 2 Tbs. of lemon juice and 1 pouch of powdered pectin. Bring to a boil.
Add 4 cups of sugar, stir well and return to a boil. Boil the jelly for 1 to 2 minutes and remove from the heat.
Pour the jelly into hot and sanitized canning jars leaving 1/4 inch of headspace.
Wipe the edge of the jar clean and place the lids and rings on finger tight.
Place the jars in a water bath canner and process for 10 minutes or according to your altitude.
Remove the jars from the canner and place on a towel. Allow them to sit undisturbed for 24 hours to let the seal harden.
Any jars that haven’t sealed need to be put in the fridge to use first or reprocessed.
- Jelly did not set. Maybe because I doubled the recipe? Stick to the recipe. Although it did not set, it was an awesome syrup! I added it to my yogurts, teas and sodas. To recook the jelly, pour the jelly mixture back into the pot and follow the directions at the bottom that came with your pectin. It will say “If your jelly didn’t set”. Remember, prep all your materials first so read
the directions before you start cooking.
- Since I’m a jelly newbie, when I went to the store to buy some pectin, there were multiple options (original, instant, liquid, less or no sugar) so I bought most of them. I made the mistake of accidentally using a different pectin or reading the wrong directions than the original one I used (it has different directions). So I cooked some jelly up 3 times. It’s a lot of work!
- Have a helper separating the petals from the greenery. Fingers hurt doing it by yourself!
- Prep! Prep! Prep everything before you start cooking.
I left the petals in the fridge for a week until I cooked up a second batch and they stayed fresh and kept their form.
If it sounds overwhelming, don’t worry! Once you break these tasks into sections, you are gonna love it and it will be so worth it when you have this delicous jelly! One day harvest and separate the flowers. Another day to cook up the jelly. The petals keep in the fridge quite nicely. So, are you up for it?
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