Photo: Serena Ball, MS, RD
Foraging for food is trendy. But the reason you should make this recipe is because it’s really fun — and because you just have to experience how dandelion jelly actually tastes like honey.
The hardest part may be finding dandelions in your lawn or a nearby park where they aren’t sprayed, though you should check local regulations before foraging somewhere other than your own property. If you find them in a neighbor’s lawn, chances are that your neighbor will be more than happy to let you take them before they go to seed. Once you find the bright yellow flowers, pretend you’re a kid again and pick three cups of blossoms.
Then, you’ll just need a saucepan. There’s no need to find special canning equipment; this recipe can be canned, but I never do. I make it yearly with my kids and we just keep it in the refrigerator. It goes fast! The recipe makes about 5 cups of jelly and we drizzle it over pancakes, peanut butter sandwiches, plain yogurt or even stir it into no-bake energy balls. It’s tasty almost any place you’d use honey.
Enjoy foraging for your food, not because it’s trendy, but because it tastes really delicious.
Makes about 5 cups jelly
- 3 cups packed very fresh dandelion blossoms (from unsprayed plants)
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups sugar (helps thicken— don’t use less)
- 1 box powdered pectin
- 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice (fresh lemons have varying acidity, so use bottled)
- 1 drop yellow food coloring or a natural ingredient such as turmeric if desired (without this the jelly’s color is a bit more greenish)
- Using your thumbnail, cut and pluck the yellow blossom away from the tiny green leaves holding it (your thumb will get sticky and the flower will separate into petals.) Remove as much of the green as possible because this part is bitter and turns the jelly green.
- In medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add half the blossoms, stir and cover. Turn off heat and steep for 20 minutes. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain and gently push on blossoms to remove some of the water. Add the same dandelion water back to saucepan and bring to a boil. Add remaining blossoms and cover. Steep 15 minutes, then repeat straining process.
- Bring 3 cups steeping liquid to a boil along with sugar, pectin, lemon juice and (optional) food coloring, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil for 1 minute, then skim off foam with a wooden spoon.
- Pour into hot sterilized half-pint jars leaving ¼-inch space at the top and store in the refrigerator, or process according to canner manufacturer’s instructions if you don’t plan on eating this right away.
Notes: This recipe does not gel to thick jelly. It is the consistency of honey and we use it just like honey. If you want it to gel to thick jelly, add an additional ½ cup sugar, for a total of 4½ cups sugar. For additional how-to photos, check out TeaspoonOfSpice.com
Serena Ball, MS, RD, is a food writer and registered dietitian nutritionist. She co-blogs at TeaspoonOfSpice.com sharing "Healthy Kitchen Hacks" to help families find healthy cooking shortcuts. Follow her on Twitter and Snapchat.