4 cups yellow parts of dandelion blossoms
3 cups boiling water
4 1/2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp Freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
1 pkg powdered pectin
yellow food coloring (optional)
NOTE: Look for fully opened flowers, the bigger the better, for ease of preparation. Of course do NOT use any dandelions that have been sprayed with fertilizers or pesticides!
Get lots and lots of blossoms.. If you get too many, you can always freeze the extras and use them later.
Because the green parts have a bitter flavor, you'll want just the dandelion petals for the jelly - not the whole flower head. The easiest way to do this is to hold the flower by the end near the stem, and trim the petals into a bowl or cup, with sharp kitchen scisscors.
Place jars and lids on rack in pan or stockpot deep enough to cover them with about two inches of water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, keeping the jars hot until ready to fill.
Pack the blossoms into a 4 cup measure. More blossoms mean more flavor for the jelly. Pour boiling water over petals and let steep from 30 minutes to 24 hours. Strain through a fine sieve, reserving the infusion. (If not using immediately, the dandelion water can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)
Alternatively, you can bring the 3 cups of water to a boil in a two-quart nonreactive or stainless steel pan and fill the water with a portion of the dandelion blossom shreds. Simmer over very gentle heat about 10 minutes. Pour the water and blossoms through a strainer. Press the blossoms as dry as possible to extract the maximum amount of water.
Add more blossoms to the strained water and simmer for about 10 minutes. Continue simmering and straining until all the blossoms are used up. Add more water to make up 3 cups. You lose some water because it is caught in the blossoms.
Strain the dandelion infused water very well (a coffee filter works great for this). Combine water with lemon juice and sugar in a two-quart nonreactive or stainless steel pan. Bring to rolling boil that cannot be stirred down and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the pectin and continue to boil two minutes, skimming any foam that may rise to the surface. Add 10 to 20 drops of yellow food coloring (optional).
Ladle quickly into preheated jars to within about 1/8 inch from the top; clean each rim and threads of the jar as it's filled, and place flat lid and ring on each before filling the next. Screw band on tightly and invert jar on tea towel for about five to 10 minutes. Jars should seal and lids should pop shut within 10 minutes as they cool. If they do not seal, you can place them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes or place in the refrigerator.
Sealed jars will last up to one year in a cool, dark place. Put any unsealed jelly in the refrigerator. it should keep about three weeks. Makes six or more half-pint jars.
Saturday, April 26, 2008