There’s no better way to launch the canning season than by canning dandelion jelly. Those beautiful yellow flowers is the true indicator that summer, and the growing season, is fast approaching.
When we first started canning, dandelion jelly wasn’t something we considered putting up. I couldn’t seem to be able to wrap my mind around why I would want to occupy the pantry with dandelions. In truth, I thought there were better jellies and jam to make.
Well, as our journey to living a self-sufficient life progressed the thought of being able to preserve items which we could forage became the goal…and the tradition of canning dandelion jelly began.
I am also going to throw this out there, if you live in the Pacific Northwest, make sure you give salmonberry jelly a try too! Sorry, salmonberry can only be found along the coastal side the PNW and loves wet cooler climates.
The year as our little Lola turned 9 I knew it was time to teach her how to can and begin preserving the harvest. Care to guess where we started? Since this was going to be her first solo canning attempt I wanted her to experience the true value of it ~ foraging, preserving and consuming foods made through her efforts.
Out to the neighbor’s pasture she went, managing to harvested a basket full of dandelion flowers. This sweet child tediously selected the largest flower, and even harvested young greens to be added to our dinner salad. Oh, let’s not forget the large amount gathered for the rabbits and ducklings. I think everyone was in heaven this day.
As a mother, I’m preparing to pass down the torch of how to homestead, and nothing could be more gratifying. Teaching her how to find food and preserve it, as many did for centuries, impacted not only her, but me too. I was a teary hot mess the entire time!
The delight in gathering, preparing and selling the jars she worked tirelessly on gave her a sense of encouragement and fulfillment. This child of mine sold over 20 jars her first round to friends and family and truly did a great job!
Save the Bees
Ok, let’s clear the air. Consuming dandelion blossoms does not mean you’re stealing them from the bees, I promise! Dandelions are a quick reproducing herb, or weed depending on how you want to see it, and within 48 hours it has the ability to produce additional blossoms. Whew, glad that’s cleared up!
Why did my jelly not taste like honey?
Making dandelion jelly requires a few steps, and the process is much longer than most jams or jellies. The pedals are the only part of the flower which is actually used to make the jelly, and the green base should be discarded. Don’t worry, a little green won’t hurt but to much of will alter the flavor of the jelly.
In order to make ‘jelly’ you need to seep the pedals in water creating a tea. This is done by adding boiling water to the petals and allowing it to sit for a few hours, but for best results let it brew overnight.
Finally, don’t skip the sweetener or minimize the sugar amount. This is what creates the honey flavor. Though you can use a no sugar pectin, it is not going to give you the flavor it was meant to have.
- Dandelion Tea (see Notes on how to make dandelion flower tea) 3 cups
- Sugar 4 1/2 cups
- Pectin 1 box
- Lemon Juice 2 tablespoons
- Jalapenos (optional)
- 1/2 pint Mason jars
- Bring to boil the dandelion tea, pectin and lemon juice
- Add sugar and return to hard boil, stirring often for 2 minutes
- Remove from heat, skim the foam from the liquid
- Fill jars leaving a 1/4 head space
- Can for 10 minutes in a hot water bath canner. 15 mins for altitude above 6000 ft elevation
- Follow the instructions listed above and add 1 finely diced jalapeno. If you'd like and extra kick feel free to include the jalapeno seeds
- Process as indicated above
- In a glass vessel add 4-5 cups of pedals and cover the pedals with boiling water
- Using a dishtowel cover the vessel which the dandelion tea is brewing in; allow the tea to seep for a few hours, but for best results allow it to seep overnight
- Separate the liquid from the petals. We use a fine strainer lined with a coffee filter to keep the pedals from the tea.
Can it up
Jelly is safe being canned in a hot water bath (HWB), and the processing time will depend on your altitude. I’m not going to lie, I haven’t touched my HWB canner in a few years, instead use a steam canner.
About the steam canner ; this tool is the game changer for putting up high acidic items like pickled, jellies and jams. This canning tool uses only 1 inch of water and canning in the summer has become more bearable!
If you are needing advice on canning (pressure or HWB) the National Center for Home Food Preservation can answer many canning or preserving question.
We love to have this jelly over homemade bread, goat’s cheese or with Brie. Though the kids love the basic jelly, we adults love jalapeno-dandelion jelly the best!
Make sure you involve the kids in this one, they will love it!