Dandelion Jelly Recipe
We all know that person with the perfectly manicured lawn. A carpet of lush, green turf where a weed dares not show its face. That's not my yard. Ours looks more like patchwork of clover and weeds with the occasional parcel of turf grass. It looks more like a food plot than a lawn, and serves that purpose on a regular basis when deer and turkeys venture from the woods to dine next to our house.
But that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Not spending time tending my turf leaves more time for woods and water. And those weeds I mentioned? Some of them are pretty tasty. Take the almost universally despised dandelion. Americans spend millions of dollars on poison attempting to control them. But not here. When we see those first bright yellow blooms of spring, we know its dandelion jelly time.
5 cups dandelion flowers
4 cups water
1 packet fruit pectin, 1.75 ounce. We used Sure Jell
4.5 cups white granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh is better
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
Using your thumbnail or a sharp knife, pry the yellow portions of the bloom from the green base (to much of the green base causes your jelly to have a green tint and adds bitterness to the jelly)
Add the water to a medium to large pot and add the dandelions. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid. Continue cooking for four minutes, then remove from heat and allow the dandelions to steep, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes.
Once all the sugar has dissolved, add the sugar/pectin mixture. Stir constantly to blend and dissolve. Boil for 3 minutes, skimming the foam from the top of the pot and discarding. Add the lemon juice and vanilla then stir well. Depending on how well you separated the flower petals from the green stalks, the finished jelly might have a green tint. Adding two drops of yellow food coloring will brighten it up, if desired. With a cold metal spoon, remove some of the jelly from the pot. It should start to thicken on the spoon within a few minutes. If your liquid doesn't start to thicken on the spoon after several minutes, you might need to reboil and add addtional pectin and lemon juice.
Pour into sterilized ½ pint or pint jars. The recipe makes between three and a half and four pints of jelly. Cap the jars with sterilized new lids and screw the rings down. The jelly will set in the jar. Refrigerate any jars that don't seal or after opening.