Today a fiber friend of mine that lives in Ontario, Canda made jelly with me. Well, considering I'm here in Ohio and she's in Canada, it was more of a long distance doing it at the same time kind of thing. Even so, it was fun knowing someone else was making it, too. This is how I made dandelion jelly today:
I went out early this morning to pick dandelion heads, making sure to do it on a day when we had 25 mph winds with stronger gusts in between. Moe and Alice tried to help, but being geese they did more eating than helping. I also made sure to pick them in the front pasture, where the horses and sheep knew they would be moving to next, so they could yell at me over the fence to hurry up. Afterwards I settled down on the couch and turned the television on (a rare occasion for me) to episode 116 of Supernatural on Netflix. I watched and I separated the yellow blossoms from the green part. You don't want to use any of the green parts. Green = bitter, not better.
After I finished separating the yellow parts out...I got to the end of episode 17, by the way...I went off to the kitchen to make the jelly. I sterilized the jars and their top parts. I also thought ahead and got all of my ingredients together...blossoms, water, fruit pectin, lemon emulsion (I like to use emulsion instead of extract for this), and sugar. Hey, wait a minute, what happened to the sugar? I was sure I had plenty last time I checked. I knocked on wood I had enough, measured it out, and came up 1/2 cup short. Rats! Then eldest enlightened me that he and his lab partner, Hon, did a physical science experiment over the weekend for school that called for sugar, and had they read the directions properly the first time, they wouldn't have had to use more sugar for a re-do. So off to the grocery I went. I was determined to put my blinders on and just get sugar...so I bought the sugar, some donuts, and a chocolate bar. See, all sugar. Oh leave it alone already, it's my justification and makes perfect sense.
When I got home I continued on...boiling the water, adding the blossoms without the green bits, ate a donut, washed my hands, strained the flower splodge, put the blossom water back in the pot, added the sugar, emulsion, fruit pectin, and ate a donut. Voila! I put it all in jars, wiped the edges, and put on the tops. It's a wonderful thing when I hear the "ping" sound when a jar of dandelion jelly seals itself. Now, I always have a bit left, which I put in a coffee cup so we can enjoy that last bit later. Young'un says it tastes like lemon honey. I do believe he's right. Dandelion jelly is lemony goodness in a jar.
So, now you're wondering, "Where can I get this recipe," and "What can I do to get some - I have a perfect dandelion free lawn?" For the first question, I say look down below. I've included the recipe. For the second, I say look at your neighbor's lawn. Yeah, go over there and ask them if you can de-dandelion their yard to make it. Now, if you've made it this far in the story and you'd like to give some dandelion jelly a try but aren't a jelly maker...or just don't want to do it, leave a comment below with your name saying that you'd like to give it a go. I'll have the Kid write your name on a piece of paper, put it in a jar with whoever else wants to join in the fun, and ask Young'un to pick two names out. Oh, I figure I'll have Young'un fish out two names on Wednesday around 3:30 when he gets off the bus. If your name is one of those two I'll get a hold of you for your address and send you a jar. If there's only two comments, boy oh boy, you're in luck! I have no idea if many folks actually read my blogs so this might be your lucky day. Smiling & Waving, Sharon
4 cups dandelion bloossoms (yellow bits only) 4 cups water
1 package (or 1 1/2 oz) fruit pectin 1 teaspoon lemon extract (or lemon emulsion)
4 1/2 cups sugar 6 1/2-pint jars
Pick the blossoms in the morning. If you pick the heads, make sure to separate the yellow bits and only use those. Trust me, experience has shown it makes a bitter puke green jelly if you include the green parts. Bring your water to a boil, add the yellow blossoms, and cook it for about three minutes. Then you're going to strain out three cups of the liquid and throw away the soggy blossoms. I use a small mesh strainer, I've also used a coffee filter out of desperation when I couldn't find it. Put the water back in the pan - wash out the bits first - and then add the rest of your ingredients (fruit pectin, sugar, and lemon extract/emulsion. Stir it up while bringing it back to a boil and then cook and stir at a boil for another three minutes. Don't keep it on high while you boil it, lower that temp some or you'll have it foaming all over (trust me). When time's up, take it off the heat, skim off any of that foamy stuff with a spoon, and then pour it into your clean jars. Wipe the rims of any jelly gunk, attach the lids, and let it sit quietly to cool so the lids seal. Put any extra you have in a coffee cup so it can cool and then enjoy it without feeling guilty you've already opened a jar. I use both 1/2-pint jars and jars that are smaller than that (half 1/2-pint jars?) so I have both sizes available at the farmer's market. Enjoy!