Thursday, April 14, 2011

Dandelions As Food

I became fascinated with eating dandelions last spring. Fascinated, but not willing. Even though I wrote an article about eating dandelions in May, I could not bring myself to actually taste them.

This year, I thought I should put my dandelions where my mouth is. (Or something like that.) I made dandelion cookies using a recipe I found online. I found the same recipe in multiple places. I'm not entirely sure where it originated.

I also tried making dandelion jelly. There are a lot of recipes available, but the one I used is from Prairieland Herbs. I have found that a lot of times when I go back to find a recipe, it is gone. I will share the recipe with the steps that I followed. The original is at the above link, and if you have questions, it is the place to go. (The directions here are more or less mine.)

In the Spencer Magnet this week, I shared my experiences making both dandelion cookies and dandelion jelly. I also shared the dandelion cookie recipe that I used. I did not like that recipe, however, and I plan to try making dandelion cookies again with one my cookie recipes.

Dandelion Jelly

2 heaping cups of fresh dandelion petals
2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 cups sugar
3 ounces pectin

Dandelions must be washed well (ants seem to like them a lot). Once washed, remove the yellow petals from the green cap and stem. (I spent hours and hours pulling them out by hand and then realized that it was much easier and quicker to snip the yellow off with kitchen scissors. Now I know.)
Place petals in a bowl with a lid (I used a Pyrex bowl). Boil the 2 cups of water and pour it over the petals. Cover and steep for 2-24 hours. (I think I steeped mine for a little over 24 hours.) Strain the infusion, reserving the liquid and discarding the petals.
The directions then said that the infusion can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours before making the jelly, but I think I waited 2 days. I have not noticed that it was a problem.
The infusion I had was very dark and smelled very strongly of weeds. I almost threw it away, but decided that this was an experiment and I needed to follow it through.
I placed my jars in a stock pot with enough water to cover them, and turned the burner on medium high. The jars needed to be hot so they didn't break when filled with hot jelly, and sterilized for the canning process.
Pour the infusion into a pot, and add the sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a rolling boil. Add the liquid pectin and continue to boil for 2 minutes. (The directions say to skim off the foam. I missed this step. It's fine for my jelly, but I can't enter it in the fair now.)
Ladle jelly into jars, place lid and ring on. Once all the jars were filled, I placed them back in the stock pot, put the lid on and processed them in a water bath for 10 minutes. When the 10 minutes were up, I turned off the heat and removed the lid. After about 20 minutes, I removed the jars from the pot and let cool.

I did not get this recipe from a certified source, so I can't say for sure that this recipe could be processed by a water bath. If you aren't comfortable with it, use another recipe or freeze the jelly. Or use it up quickly. I got 5 8-ounce jars from this recipe and did not want to take up the extra space in my refrigerator. Also, I really want to share a jar with my little brother who has been eating weeds for many years. (wink)

I hope to link the Spencer Magnet article here when it becomes available.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

One of the memories from my childhood is going with my mom and my great aunt Ann to the experimental farm to pick dandelions in the spring. We would pick the tender green shoots and boil them with Salt meat and veggies in our Sunday dinner. To this day, I always look forward to dandelion in the spring. howedver, I have never heard of cookies or jam - but have heard of dandelion wine. Thanks for sharing your recipes