Mother Earth News Blogs > Real Food

Real Food

Savor the flavors of everyday real food, fresh from the garden or stored on your pantry shelves.


Dandelion Jelly

10310701_10152420486823923_4050882895688255678_n

Dandelions have sure gotten a bad rap lately, and many home owners are trying to combat them using pesticides that contaminate our soil and ground water. Nothing found in nature is by accident, and the dandelion is no different. Just think about it’s bright fluffy attractive flower. The dandelion is the very first food for the bees, and comes out before any other flower. Before the bees move on to the fruit blossoms, they strengthen their hives with the healing benefits of the dandelion.

Folks in the past understood the healing benefits of this wonderful “weed”. Dandelions come in spring, gather the heat of the sun, and cleanse the body from the toxins accumulated over winter. They have long been used by Native American, Chinese, Middle Eastern, and many European cultures to cure an array of conditions from upset stomachs to liver disease. The roots, leaves, and blossoms have all been eaten fresh, brewed into teas, and even made into a honey-like syrup. Europeans often add the fresh leaves to salads. They are delicious, and very high in vitamin A, vitamin C, and Calcium.

My children love to run around collecting those fluffy bright flowers, and I hated to see them wasted in a Dixi cup on the counter. I had heard of dandelion jelly, and thought we would try our hand at putting those 222 tiny petals on each of those wonderful spring flowers to work. It has proven to be a cost efficient substitute for raw bee honey. The flavor is a little florally with a semi sweet after taste. It does tend to crystallize, but melts nicely over hot toast or into tea.

Dandelion Jelly

Ingredients

3 cups of dandelion heads
3 cups of water
1 tbsp vanilla extract or 2 vanilla beans split
Lemon cut into 3-4 thick pieces
1 teaspoon cinnamon or 2 cinnamon sticks.

12891610_543004829210003_4105499617738879540_o

Directions

1. Bring to a rolling boil, and simmer 30 minutes.

2. Turn off, and allow to steep 6 hours, or overnight.

12885835_543004922543327_1763575026142019234_o

3. Strain (using a cheesecloth set in a strainer, over a bowl) until no more liquid is dripping out. I also squeezed any extra out by hand.

12901035_543004905876662_870645760210992654_o

4. Return liquid only to the pan, add 4 cups of sugar, and simmer at a low rolling boil for 2-3 hours. Stir ever 20-30 minutes to prevent burning to the bottom.

12885880_543004929209993_5688746973219936796_o

5. Sterilize jars, and rims, and pour hot jelly into hot jars. Secure lid, and you’re done.

6. Store in a cool dark place for up to a year.

11255455_543004799210006_262250519292427497_o

Melissa Souza lives on a 1-acre, organically managed homestead property in rural Washington State where she raises backyard chickens and meat rabbits and grows plums, apples, pears, a variety of berries, and all the produce her family needs. She loves to inspire other families to save money, be together, and take steps toward self-reliance no matter where they live. Connect with her on Facebook.


 All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.