The great thing about lockdown, is that it has really made me appreciate what is around me. Over the last few weeks, I have noticed the trees on the hill changing colour, and the green meadow outside our house gradually being over-run by yellow buttercups and dandelions.
On one of our walks, my Mum told me how dandelion leaves can be used in salads. So we decided to see if dandelions can be used for anything else, other than rabbit food. On the internet, we discovered a recipe for Dandelion jelly – we always make Bramble jelly in the Autumn, so we thought we’d give it a go. After collecting what seemed like thousands of dandelion flowers, we sat at the kitchen table for hours separating the yellow petals from the green leaves (apparently the leaves make the jelly bitter).
We finally ended up with 2 highly packed cups of petals which we covered in boiling water and then left to ‘stew’ (in the fridge once it had cooled) for 24 hours. We then strained the murky green liquid through a muslin and boiled this juice with 2 tbs of lemon juice, 4 cups of water, and 4 cups of jam sugar (which included pectin). We left it to simmer for around 20 minutes and kept testing it until the mixture solidified when poured it onto a cold surface.
Finally, we poured it into sterilised jars and left it to cool. We couldn’t resist a little taste at this point – I don’t think any of us could quite believe how the green pondwater we started with had transformed into this golden syrup. We had read that it should taste like honey – and it did. I think it’s more a cross between honey and marmalade. But it is absolutely delicious!
Now, every time I see a dandelion, I have an overwhelming urge to pick it and turn it in to dandelion jelly, but there is only so much jam a girl can eat!
For this you will need:
- 2 cups of dandelion petals (tightly packed)
- 2 tbs lemon juice
- 4 cups jam sugar
- A muslin or something to strain the liquid
- 4 jam jars
- A large bowl
- A large saucepan
- A wooden spoon
– Emily Neighbour