Tag Archives: dandelions

When life gives you Dandelions…make some jelly!

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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!

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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.

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Warning…your hands will look like this, and they don’t wash off easily..

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We collected about 10 cups of flowers in total. This was enough to make two batches of jelly.

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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

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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.

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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.

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Then, I strained the petals in a strainer with cheese cloth.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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Dandelion crowns!

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Where we live right now, the dandelions are in full bloom, I am not a huge fan of dandelions on our property, but I absolutely love fields full of them! Every year for mother’s day, I have Dylan and Sam sit in a dandelion field so I can take a few pictures…Sam usually poses with a dandelion crown.
So, the park close to our house is in full bloom right now, so we took a walk and sat down and tried to make a dandelion crown…
There are two different ways.. Here is the easiest..
Start by crossing two stems, the one on top should be up and down, and the one on the bottom is horizontal…

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Then, you wrap the bottom stem around the top stem, making sure that the stem ends up on top of the flower…

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Now you simply make sure the stem has looped over the flower and bring it back down with the other stem..

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Keep repeating the same steps, put a new flower under the stems, wrap the new stem around and over the new flower, then Holbrook it with the rest of the stems…

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Put the new flower, wrap stem around and over, then bring down with the rest of the stems…
If you keep putting the flowers on the same way, it will start to make a spiral pattern…

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That’s it!
Now, the second way is my favourite, but it is a little trickier, Sam had difficulty with this one. Basically you start out with three long stemmed dandelions, cross them as if you were going to braid them…

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Then basically what you do is braid the stems, but every time you cross over a stem to braid, you add another flower, almost the same as when you are French braiding. I like this one, because the result is a nice thick band of flowers, but the back is plain. The back looks like this…

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But, look what you end up with!

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By the way, these techniques will also work with other flowers like daisies, or other wild flowers with longer stems! I’ll have to wait a month or so until some other flowers are blooming!