While it is no longer Dandelion season I’ve had some pictures saved up for this posting. Next time they’re in bloom (spring usually) I encourage you to try them and see if you find them as tasty as I do. The closest I can describe the taste as is a hint of green tea with a bunch of honey.
A basic recipe needs 2 cups of petals which is about 3-4 cups of dandelion heads. It should go without saying that you want to pick from an area that is not sprayed with chemicals, ideally an area that hasn’t been sprayed ever or at least in a few years. When picking them you specifically want the open heads and not those with the “compact” center. Both will work just fine but the open heads are much easier to work with. For reference, pick ones like the sample on the left, leave the ones on the right for another day.
After you’ve picked the head, you need to remove the petals from the stem and bracts (green parts under the petals). Doing so with bare hands will result in them turning dark brown if not almost black by the time you’re done. I wear rubber gloves to make cleanup easy. You pick a single head and holding it between the thumb and index finger, twirl it while squeezing. It takes a bit of practice but when done right you can reach over with your other hand and the petals very easily pull out. Put the petals in a bowl. The rest can be composted or simply tossed back.
Once you have enough petals (2 cups) you put them in a pot with an equal amount of water and bring to a boil. Keep it boiling for about 10 minutes or so. Strain out the petals, retaining the liquid, and you’re ready to make your syrup (or Jelly).
Return the liquid to the pot and add sugar, lemon juice and pectin. Return to a boil and start to cook down the liquid.
If you cook it down a bit (half or so) you’ll end up with a syrup. Cook it down a little more and it’ll turn into jelly when it cools. To pretty much guarantee syrup just leave out the pectin. When complete follow standard canning processes and once cooled you’ll have tasty liquid gold.
The step by step recipe is as follows:
- 2 cups of dandelion blossoms (petals) separated from the stems and bracts
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 1/4 teaspoons pectin (or as your brand/package recommends for a jelly recipe)
Boil petals for about 10 minutes, strain petals from liquid and return liquid to the bot.
Add remaining ingredients, following instructions for amount of pectin based on your brand/package.
Return to boil and stir vigorously with a wood spoon being sure to skim off the foam. Once the top starts to become blobby and glasslike your jelly is ready. If you omitted the pectin then your syrup is ready.
The original recipe said it takes just a few minutes, my experience shows this could be 30-60 minutes. Either way, watch the surface and/or test by putting a spoonful on a saucer and placing in the freezer for a few minutes. See if it goes solid (jelly) or just thick (syrup). If it stays runny then it needs to be further reduced.
Can following your favorite canning process and enjoy the golden goodness.