Thursday, June 4, 2015

Dandelion Jelly

Dandelions aren't just for hippie headwear! I remember when I was a little kid I used to sit out in fields of dandelions while playing outfield for our t-ball team, pinching off their blossoms and making dandelion chains by inserting the skinny end into the thick large end. Then I'd hang them on my neck or around my head and dance around.

This past week, KT and I got together to make dandelion jelly and it was so delicious. It tastes very similar to honey!!! She rounded up her kids the night before to pick dandelions on her acreage while Nana picked some from ours. The whole gang, husbands included, sat around our table deflowering....wait that doesn't sound We haven't found a word for what we did without it sounding utterly wrong in so many ways.

Well, what we did was pinch the blossoms aggressively at their base and roll between our fingers. That releases the petals from the stems. The goal was to get as little green anything in with our yellow fluff as possible.

Once that was achieved KT took the petals home and steeped them in hot water making dandelion tea. The next morning she removed them from the tea. Together, while managing to wrangle three young kiddos at the same time, we finished the jelly.

Recipe courtesy of Simply

Making Dandelion Jelly with Powdered Pectin
  • 3 Cups dandelion tea
  • 4 1/2 Cups sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 box powdered pectin
Add dandelion tea, lemon juice, 1 box of pectin into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil.  Add your sugar and bring back to a boil.  Continue boiling 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and fill half pint jars leaving 1/4" headspace. Process in a water bath for 10-15 minutes depending on your altitude. Let sit for 5-10 minutes with heat off before setting on draft free countertop covered gently with a towel. Do not disturb for 24hrs. Check seal at that time. 
**Pick at least 10 cups of dandelion tops as you need 4 cups of petals in the end to make the tea. Pour boiling water over petals and let steep overnight. Strain petals with cheesecloth or coffee filter and discard petals into your compost. Add additional water as needed to achieve 3c. of tea. 
Next time I think I would steep more dandelions for a stronger flavor but overall it turned out perfectly. 
After this I proceeded to get my jam on and made Aprium-Pineapple Jam (with a touch of apricot schnaaps....yummmm) with natural pectin. It was fabulous. My next endeavor is Caramel-Apple Jam and also Bourbon Bacon Jam. 

Today was a bee-u-tiful day on the homestead. Sun shining, warm but with a gentle breeze, laundry swaying, chickens dust bathing, and baby digging up stones and flowers in the dirt. Love.....

I love love love the bonnet. We have five that Nana made for her in gorgeous calico fabric. Because Cowboy and I always put on our cowboy hats when we head out the back door, she has now found it unacceptable to leave the house without her bonnet on. She insists, signing "hat" and pointing at her little bonnet which is kept on a hook by the door. 

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