I’ve never made dandelion jelly before, so this is my coverage of that experiment. It’s no secret to readers of this site that we have an affinity for making use of wild plants for food and medicine. There are copious amounts of dandelions here at the Lost in the Ozarks homestead. Last year I made a dandelion infused oil and used it to make a natural joint and muscle pain balm.
I already know that the dandelions will continue to flower throughout the summer, so I am using those I have gathered here in early Spring to make Dandelion Jelly.
Gather the Dandelion Flowers
Foraging of wild plants is becoming all the rage these days as food and fuel prices skyrocket. If you are someone who is interested in foraging, there are a few precautions you need to take to make sure you don’t suffer harm from any wild plants you use or consume.
The first thing to be aware of is making sure you can make a 100% positive identification of any plant you are considering eating or using on your body. Some plants have toxic look-alikes, and some are easier to identify when they are blooming, such as the wild violet. You can make wild violet jelly from wild violet blooms too. If you aren’t sure, find a trusted source and do your research thoroughly.
Luckily, dandelions don’t have any toxic look-alikes. The whole of the plant is edible. This makes it a good plant for beginning foragers to learn to identify and use. Read more about the edible and medicinal uses of dandelion.
Now that you are sure you are picking dandelion flowers because you have done your research we can begin to gather the dandelion flowers. First, pick an area you know hasn’t been sprayed with chemicals. You don’t want toxic chemicals in your dandelions. You should pick an area away from vehicle traffic also, due to the possibility of absorbing some of the constituents of car exhausts.
Once you find a suitable place with dandelion flowers, you can just use your thumb and forefinger to pinch the flower from the stem just below the flower. You may see a milky white substance leak from the stem. This is another indicator that you are picking dandelion flowers. The stem will also be hollow. Keep picking flowers until you have about 4 cups of flowers.
You’ll notice later that the recipe only calls for 2 cups of petals. When you get the flowers home you will want to rinse them in cold water to remove any small ants, (yes, there will be tiny ants), and any other debris that might have been gathered along with your flowers.
You can lay them out on a towel and let them dry slightly before you process them, but I just go ahead and start cutting off the green part below the petals. You want to remove this part because it can make your jelly bitter. Watch the video below to see this and the rest of the process I use for making dandelion jelly.
Once you have most of the green part removed from your petals you should have around 2-3 cups of dandelion petals. Don’t worry if you can’t get every green part out of the petals. As long as you cut off the large green bulb on the bottom, you should be fine.
Making Dandelion Jelly
Once you have the petals for your dandelion jelly you will need to boil a little over 4 cups of water. I add a little extra water for the amount that will evaporate during boiling.
Place the dandelion petals into a large mixing bowl that will hold 4 cups of water plus the flower petals. When the water is boiling pour it over the petals, and use a spoon to press them down into the water. Place the bowl somewhere to cool for 2 hours, and stir occasionally. This step is to remove as much color and flavor from the petals as possible.
After you have made your “dandelion tea” it is ready to make jelly. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh filter to filter out all the vegetable material from the liquid. I bought a reusable coffee filter to use when filtering liquids to make jelly. The great thing about these filters is that you can press the petals to remove as much of the liquid as possible. Use your fingers or a large spoon to press the flower petals to remove as much of the liquid as possible.
Measure the liquid into a saucepan. If you don’t have 4 cups of liquid, add water to make 4 cups of liquid total. Then add the lemon juice and pectin and bring to a full boil. Once the mixture is boiling add the sugar, then bring it back to a full boil for 1-2 minutes.
Remove from heat and immediately ladle into jars. Wipe the jar mouth with a damp cloth, and place a lid on the jar. If you want the jelly to be shelf-stable you can water-bath can it at this point. Since we usually eat it up rather quickly I simply let the jars cool and then transfer them to the refrigerator.
Dandelion Jelly Recipe
4 cups dandelion flowers (makes 2-3 cups dandelion petals)
4 Cups Water
7 Cups Sugar (or the recommended amount from the pectin container – see the video to find out why)
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Package Powdered Pectin – 1.75 oz (Buy 12 oz fruit pectin)
Read above or watch the video to see the steps to make this wonderfully tasty jelly.
Be sure and check out the post on making jelly using wild violets.