Springtime in Canada is my absolute favourite time of year. There is nothing better than those first few sunny days of the season, where you can finally put on your sandals, and go outside with no coat! The other thing I love about springtime is the dandelions. I know, I know, they are supposed to be a weed, but they are my favourite flower…just not on my lawn of course.
Here is what the park around the corner from us looked like yesterday!
Every year since the kids were about 2, for mother’s day, I take photos of the kids in a field of dandelions, and we make dandelion chains, and bouquets. This year, on instructables, I found a new idea…dandelion jelly! Dandelions are actually an edible plant, they have a strong, almost bitter taste. Many of the leaves are used in salads, and the flowers can be eaten too.
So back to the jelly… here is the link to the original recipe, although I did make a few changes. Instructables Recipe for Dandelion Jelly
I started the jelly by having the whole family help pick. We tried to pick the larger flowers, and we picked flowers from the center of the field.
Warning…your hands will look like this, and they don’t wash off easily..
We collected about 10 cups of flowers in total. This was enough to make two batches of jelly.
Now for the tedious part.. you have to separate the yellow petals from the green leaves. The green part of the dandelion is the bitter part.
After a little bit of experimenting, I found the easiest way to get the petals only, is to break the flower open with your thumbs
Then, pluck the petals out of the center. I have to warn you…this part was time consuming, and the kids got bored of helping pretty fast. But, I ended up getting about six cups of petals.
The next step is to make a sort of a tea, by mixing the six cups of petals to about 8 cups of water in a saucepan, and letting it boil for about 15 minutes.
Then, I strained the petals in a strainer with cheese cloth.
Now for the jelly making part! Three cups of the boiled mixture plus 6 cups of sugar, and a pack of certo equals some deeelicious jelly!
Mix everything together in a large saucepan and stir. I also added a couple tablespoons of the actual flower petals, i thought they looked kind of pretty in the jelly.
Note, I had to let this boil for about 10 minutes before it would set. Normally, you only have to boil for about a minute or two.
After boiling, I always let the jam/jelly sit on the stove and cool for a few minutes before pouring into the jars because if the jam or jelly thickens a little, all of the fruit, or petals won’t float right to the top.
Also, while I am giving away all of my canning secrets, I might as well share with you an ancient (OK, old) Italian secret my mother in law taught me about how to seal jars. I make at least 50-75 bottles of jam every summer, and i have never had a jar go bad, and I have jars in my cupboard that have been there for 3 years (mind you, I won’t eat them, but I just keep them to see how long they will store for) Anyways, as I was saying, to seal the jars, wash and rinse the jars, then with the lids off, put the jars and lids, into the oven at 300 degrees for at least 10 minutes. Take them out of the oven to fill them, then screw the lids on tightly, and put them back into the hot oven and leave them there overnight to cool. Trust me, this is way easier than boiling the jars!
Look at the finished jelly, I love the colour!
It tastes pretty good too, the taste is similar to camomile… great with cream cheese and crackers! I feel like I should be making more…there’s gotta be trillions more flowers in our park!