Harvest Your Dandelions!

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Picture of Harvest Your Dandelions!
Spring has sprung & for many this means hours of intensive primping & prepping their gardens & lawns for the summer months. Before you begin pulling, chopping and spraying those weeds away, consider harvesting them! That's right there are several weeds that are edible, delicious, and nutritious. I myself would not typically choose to make a meal out of weeds, but I do enjoy making Dandelion jelly every spring, so if you'd like to try a bit yourself check out this tutorial!
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Step 1: Dandelion

Picture of Dandelion
The pesky dandelion is one of the first weeds to begin popping up everywhere in the spring, and although most see those bright yellow blossoms as a big fat headache, I secretly get excited & keep my eyes peeled for prime picking spots. Dandelion leaves contain abundant vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins A, C and K, and are good sources of calcium, potassium, iron and manganese.The dandelion can actually be eaten from top to bottom.The leafs can be used in salads, the roots can be boiled or roasted, and of course the blossoms  are used for teas, and jellies like this one.

Step 2: About this Jelly

Picture of About this Jelly
I was taught how to make this jelly by a family friend years ago and it is one of my favorites. It's flavor is remarkably similar to honey, if you've ever wanted to be a human honeybee this is about as close as you'll come. The color is a lovely gold, and I like to line mine up by the window for the sun to shine through. The best thing about it though is that it is unique, I don't think you'll find it at your neighborhood grocery store. It makes for great gifts and a perfect conversation starter. Here's what you'll need...

8-10 cups of dandelion blossoms
5 cups of water
6 cups of sugar
4 Tbs lemon juice
Sterile jelly jars,lids, & bands (about 8-10 8oz jars)
2 packages of liquid pectin
OPTIONAL: yellow food coloring

llgilland made it!10 months ago

This is my first time making dandelion jelly. Since our yard has plenty of them, I thought this is a perfect time to try. It turned out beautifully!! I am very happy with the natural golden-yellow color. There was no need to add any food coloring. It taste wonderful, too!! Thank you, so much, for the easy-to-follow instructions. I am very pleased with the results. I definitely recommend others try.

mygibzone (author)  llgilland10 months ago

That's great to hear! I'm glad others can enjoy it as much as I do! If you gift a few of them you are sure to get requests every year too! :)

jnikkel1 year ago
What is a ten minute wash?
mygibzone (author)  jnikkel1 year ago
Sorry for the delayed response. It's been awhile since I've checked in. A 10 minute water bath refers to "water bath canning" in which you boil the jars submerged in water for 10 minutes to seal the lids.
artzcool1 year ago
Tried making it today, I have posted it (along with a link to this website) on my blog
Thanks so much for the idea!! I changed a few things, but LOVED the idea!! And, the jelly tasted great too!
mygibzone (author)  artzcool1 year ago
Great to hear! It's always fun to step outside "the box" every once in awhile :)
workislove2 years ago
Love it, I'm just starting to get tempted by the idea of canning and stumbled on this - I may try it soon
mygibzone (author)  workislove1 year ago
It is one of my FAVORITE jellies! I will warn you that it can be time consuming though, so don't get burned out & shy away from canning all together due to that. Most canning recipes are a lot faster :) Happy Canning!
my dad is diabetic and would love to make this for him what can I use in place of the sugar? I like to use honey or aguava nectar when I make him stuff, what would the amount to use? I have recently gotten into canning and would love to add this to my small but growing collection
mygibzone (author)  tcunningham42 years ago
I'm sorry to hear that. I've never tried replacing the sugar myself so I did a little research & here are the options I've found for you to try:

1. Replace it sugar with Honey or aguava nectars. Although these are healthier for you then granulated sugar, they really don't reduce ones "sugar" intake. Plus can only be effectively substituted by 50%. So it probably wouldn't be best for a diabetic.

2. You could try using the dandelion broth/tea as your "non sweetened fruit juice" in this recipe to make a sugar free refrigerator jelly. I would do 4 cups broth & 1/4 cup lemon juice though just to add some tartness to it. It can only be kept for about 1 month in the fridge.

3. If you want to can the jelly for longer storage. (so you can gift it later in the year) You can us SPLENDA as a replacement sweetener in canning. Once again I would replace 1/4 cup of the fruit juice in their recipe with lemon juice. It's also suggested to use a NO SUGAR NEEDED pectin when using splenda if you want it to set right. However those have Dextrose in them, which is sugar, so I would stick with the CERTO liquid pectin. It doesn't have the dextrose & I've had the best luck using it in my jellies. 

One thing to keep in mind specifically with the dandelion jelly is that the broth/tea is pretty dark in color before adding all that white sugar. If you want to have a prettier color you can boil the petals for less time just until you have the color you want.

That being said...I've tampered with my own recipe for years to get the color, flavor, and texture I want. These ideas are all in theory, because I haven't tried any myself & may require some fine tuning. If I have time & resources to, I will test some out for you. Best of luck & let me know how things go!
mygibzone (author)  mygibzone2 years ago
So I've tried the splenda & the refrigerator jelly. I was completely disappointed with both. They are no where near the flavor or texture of the REAL deal! YUCK! I think jellies are just one of those things you can't fake very well. Sorry :( You could still try to substitute half with honey but like I said, you really wouldn't be cutting the "sugar" in it. I wish I could be more helpful. Best of luck to you!
lmnopeas2 years ago
I've been wanting to whip up a batch of dandelion jelly for quite some time now, but never had a good recipe.

I really love using the greens in a salad. To cut through the bitterness, I add bacon, a poached egg and garlic croutons.
Thanks for posting.
mygibzone (author)  lmnopeas2 years ago
Glad I could help. Your salad sounds delicious! You should post a recipe for that!
ChrysN2 years ago
I'm trying to imagine what this taste like. I've tried dandelion root tea, dandelion greens in a salad but jam, that is a new one to me. Unfortunately, I don't have a yard to grow my own, I'll have to scrounge some off someone, LOL.
mygibzone (author)  ChrysN2 years ago
It taste very much like honey, only in jam form. I scrounge from neighbors sometimes, just be sure they haven't sprayed them yet.
l8nite2 years ago
I never thought of jelly but as soon as I saw your "ible" I literally laughed. Years ago when I bought my first house the yard was a wasteland but the neighbor had a golf course like lawn. As I was working on the yard the neighbor asked what kind of grass I was going to use, he almost had a coronary when this long haired bearded young fellow said, I'm planting dandelions to make wine with..Of course, I didn't, but I don't think he ever forgave me.... thank you for sharing
mygibzone (author)  l8nite2 years ago
That's pretty freaking funny! I can relate, a lot of people give me "that look" you know, the "you are a hippy weirdo" look! I usually give them a jar, then every year following they ask if I'm making more. :)
lol... exactly
flyingpuppy2 years ago
Yes, thank you! I spend 1/2 a day picking and tossing dandelions. Now I can upcycle them!
breumer2 years ago
Here in the garden grow a lot of dandelions,I have repeatedly read that you can use the leaves as a salad,but we have never picked to use as a salad or jam ,Now I've read your instructable and now I'm going to do it! The girls just love to pick the horse flowers and then when mom also makes jam ...nice pictures, good explanation, thank you for sharing your idea!
l8nite breumer2 years ago
dandelion greens are great in a salad, just be sure to wash them well, there are a lot of other edible "weeds" you can find in most parks and many ornamental garden plants are not only edible but very tasty
Gah. I find this right after my lawn gets mowed?!

Question about the end of your instructions.

You said to bring the mixture to a rapid boil until it can not be stirred down. What do you mean not stirred down? I've never made a jam or jelly before, so maybe I'd know what this meant if I had.

You also said to then process in a 10 minute water bath. Is this submerging the closed, full jars, in water? Hot or cold? And why? Again, probably something I'd know if I had made jelly before.
mygibzone (author)  PatchIsCooking2 years ago
Yes, I can see how this would be confusing if you haven't done any canning before. I'll do my best to explain...Have you ever had a pot of water boil over? Usually when you stir hot liquids it controls it by slightly reducing the temperature as you stir it.To not be able to stir it down means that even when you are stirring it constantly the bubbles keep coming back as if it is going to boil over. The only way to stop it from boiling over is to add another ingredient (in this case the pectin) that will cool the temperature or to completely remove it from the heat. As far as water baths & preparing your jars etc. maybe this link will help. 

P.S. If you don't have a water bath canner or have a glass stove top like me. Then you can make your own with any deep stock pot. Just tie a few of the regular sized canning bands together to act as a rack in the bottom  & be sure it's deep enough to hold your jars + the 1" of water on top. 

AllCapps2 years ago
Just made a batch! Turned out great thanks!
My weeds were taken control by my pet tortoise. He would eat every dandelion in the yard!
mygibzone (author)  tofu4tortoise2 years ago
I've always wanted a tortoise. You've provided yet another reason why I NEED one!
ilpug2 years ago
For years I have just ate the flowers straight, I never thought of this!
WOW that is cool!
I made a batch today and gave a couple jars away to some friends. I made them taste it before I told them what was in it and they were both very surprised when they found out it was dandelions! They just couldn't believe it. I encourage all to give it a try you will be shocked how much it tastes like honey. Two thumbs up for this recipe!!!!
mygibzone (author)  nickerbonkers2 years ago
Looks great! Good work!
jensenr302 years ago
nice! very unique!
thanks for uploading it!
poofrabbit2 years ago
Never in a million years would I have guessed you could do this with dandelions! My rabbit loves to eat them, I knew you could eat the greens (they are bitter) but never did I think this could be done with the lovely golden fun! Now, being a super curious person I HAVE to give this a try! I'll keep ya posted, fantastic instructable!
mygibzone (author)  poofrabbit2 years ago
Ya, I'm not a fan of the greens. This really is a lot of fun & a great way to surprise your guests. Plus kids love to help with the picking.
It's so funny that you say that! I was given so many dandelions last week from kids at recess, if I had only known! :)