22 Comments

Eat Like a Bee: Dandelion Jelly

Dandelion Jelly

Dandelion Jelly

Bees Know a Good Thing – Dandelions are Sweet
This is the time of year when I harness my in-home child labor to make dandelion jelly. I pay my girls 1 cent for each fully opened yellow dandelion blossom they pick from our yard – They might be the one remaining thing worth a single penny today. If you’ve never made dandelion jelly, you’re in for a surprise. I like Langdon Cook’s recipe at Fat of the Land - It’s just the right size for us since I can’t can anything on our glass range (apparently the glass can’t take the heat of canning). I split a batch into two jars; one goes into our fridge, the other goes to a friend. If you have a stove that’s canning-friendly, by all means make a larger batch and save some for future toast – Directions and recipes abound online.

Dandelions

Dandelions

Boiling the petals unlocks the most amazing fragrance, just what I’ve always thought an alpine meadow in full bloom should smell like – Dandelions are hiding the archetypal perfume of spring flowers in their petal manes and dusty finger-staining pollen. Bees know this, so it makes sense that dandelion jelly tastes a good bit like honey, just more distinctly floral and less sweet.

Dandelion Harvest

Dandelion Harvest

To get the 300 – 400 blossoms needed for a small batch of jelly takes my two kids about 30 minutes. They pick some greens as they work and throw those to our hens, who love dandelions more than any other green.

Hens Love Dandelion Greens

Hens Love Dandelion Greens

I use a small paring knife to cut the base of each blossom away, then unroll the petals and peel the green sepals away from the outside.

Cut Away the Base of Each Blossom

Cut Away the Base of Each Blossom

When I get it just right, the sepals come away in a single sheet that looks an awful lot like the plastic faux grass garnish that comes with every grocery store box of sushi. The sepals are edible, it’s just that they’re bitter and not so wonderful in jelly.

Peel Away the Green Sepals

Peel Away the Green Sepals

I save the yellow petals for myself, cutting and peeling until I’ve got a heaping 2 cups of them. This takes between 300-400 dandelion flowers, or about 30 minutes of kid harvest time on our yellow-dotted lawn followed by at least an hour of petal separation. This is not a fast jelly, but it’s worth it and the work is meditative.

Bowl of Dandelion Petals

Bowl of Dandelion Petals

I’ve used both Pomona’s Universal Pectin and Ball and Sure Jell dry pectin for low- or no-sugar jams and jellies. They both work; I love the texture I get from the Pomona’s, but the dry pectin is easier to use for small batches like this.

Dandelion Jelly, based on this recipe from Langdon Cook at Fat of the Land:

  • 2 heaping cups dandelion petals
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup raw organic sugar
  • 4 tsp no-sugar/low-sugar dry pectin, the sort in the pink box
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  1. Bring the water to a boil in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan and add the dandelion petals.
  2. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 10 minutes.
  3. Cool, then strain the resulting dandelion tea through cheesecloth, pressing well to remove all liquid. Compost the leftover petals.
  4. Return clear dandelion tea to the pan over medium-high heat.
  5. Add the sugar and pectin, stirring until everything is dissolved.
  6. Stir frequently and bring the liquid to a full rolling boil, then set your kitchen timer for 1 minute. To get a good set on the jelly, you want to stir it constantly for one full minute at a full rolling boil (the boiling shouldn’t stop while you’re stirring; watch out for bubbles and splashes).
  7. When the minute of boiling is up, pour the hot jelly into your prepared jars. Put the lids on and allow it to cool. This will store in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
  8. It’s delicious on toast.
Dandelion Jelly on Toast

Dandelion Jelly on Toast

What’s your favorite way to serve dandelions? I’d love some new recipes to try…

22 comments on “Eat Like a Bee: Dandelion Jelly

  1. I never had dandelion jelly – looks great!

  2. Reblogged this on quarteracrelifestyle and commented:
    Looks like something I would like to try one day. Thanks :)

  3. Fabulous! I would have never thought to use flowers in a jelly! What a terrific color! I wonder if you could use rose petals or pansies.

  4. I made this yesterday. So light and lovely. Thanks for the recipe.

  5. Oooh, I have a yard full of dandelions and 3 kids to labor!! I wanted to add, I have a glass-top stove and I both water bath and pressure can. I have for over a year, and have never had an issue!

    • Really?! Thank you for the glass stove canning tip! I keep coming across dire warnings that have me convinced I’ll crack my stove if I try it, but I may just ignore those and give it a try. My stove is about 9 years old, I think; I tend to think of it as young, but it may qualify as old by modern appliance standards…Good luck with the kid labor & dandelions!

      • We just made some, it’s delish!! I have a smaller presto pressure canner, it works great with my glass-top. Is yours older? Ours is brand new and I specifically asked the salesman about canning. He told me that cracking was an issue with the older stoves, but is much more rare now because of advances in tempered glass. You could DEFINITELY water bath can with no problems, that poses no danger to the glass top. Thanks for this recipe!!

      • Presto canners are made to use on glass tops.

      • Thanks, Pat! I’m adding a Presto canner to my wish list!

  6. Sounds so good, also dandelion tea is delicious too. Other flowers, google EDIBLE FLOWERS, an amazingly long list. I saved it to my desktop.

  7. I make pesto from the greens, very good and good for you! I’ve also had deep fried dandelion flowers, not as healthy but tasty all the same!

    • I’ve never tried the deep fried flowers, but I also love dandelion green pesto, especially when I mix those 1:1 with spicy cress – Something about the cress mitigates the bitterness the greens have (I *want* to love the greens, but the ones I grow are so bitter on my own tongue). Thanks for the reminder and inspiration to keep my eyes open for a chance to try the flowers that way!

  8. Does eating this possibly help with allergies?

  9. How many pints does this recipe make?

    • I believe I usually get one full pint and one half-pint when I use my official Mason jars, but I’m filling those for storage in my fridge; if you’re canning, you may have a different yield, depending on how much space you leave at the top (I generally use odd-sized old jars since I’m not canning the finished jelly). I believe you could increase the recipe without much problem, that just means a LOT of dandelion picking! Hope that helps.

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