A sweetened Dandelion flower petal infusion, gelatinized with pectin to form this unique Dandelion Jelly. Sometimes considered ‘poor man’s honey,’ this Jelly is mildly sweet and tastes just like it smells – like Dandelion!
Considered by some to be a superfood, every part of a Dandelion, the leaves, flowers and roots are all edible. Dandelions can be made into a simple tea, salad or in this case Jelly. According to Healthline, Dandelions contain vitamins A, C, E, K, folate, and other small amounts of B vitamins. They also contain iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Making Dandelion Jelly is making something from nothing! Fields, lawns and flower beds are full of Dandelions, so why not make this delicious Jelly from them!
- Dandelions: heads only, discard stems and leaves.
- Lemon: bottled lemon juice is preferred, but I used fresh lemon.
- Pectin: the powder type formulated to be used with sugar.
- Sugar: white, granulated.
Using kitchen shears or a knife, cut the yellow petals off the flower heads.
Boil water, enough to submerge the flower petals in a jar. I used 1 pint.
Put the Dandelion petals into the mason jar and pour the boiling water onto them.
Already the water will take on some of the color of the Dandelion.
Place the Dandelion infusion into the refrigerator for around 24 hours. Going beyond that will not infuse any more flavor from the flower petals.
Remove the Dandelion infusion from the refrigerator and pour through a fine cheese cloth into a pot.
Squeeze the cheese cloth to allow all of the infused water to get into the pot.
Add the lemon juice to the pot.
Add the pectin to the Dandelion infusion.
Next add the sugar.
Bring the Dandelion infusion to a boil and boil for 1-2 minutes.
Pour the Dandelion Jelly into a mason jar, screw on the lid, allow to cool, possibly even overnight and then place in the refrigerator.
This recipe really does not offer flexibility. Steering away the ingredients will not guarantee success.
Firstly, use fresh pectin, recently purchased or well within its use by date. Secondly choose a pectin that uses sugar as the sweetener. Some pectins are for jams and jellies sweetened with honey or for freezer jam, do not use those pectins.
Use sugar, plain white sugar. Do not use honey as the flavor of the honey could overpower the flavor of the Dandelion.
Do not forego adding lemon juice. According to the research conducted by Iowa State University the lemon juice lowers the pH of the jelly and in doing so neutralizes the negative charges of pectin, allowing them to “set” the jam. The pH range to shoot for, if you have any pH strips handy, is between 2.8 and 3.5. That will ensure successful gelatinization. The researchers even go on to say that commercially bottled lemon juice is better than using fresh lemon juice.
Do not use just a sieve to strain the Dandelion infusion, the cheese cloth (or very clean kitchen drying towel) is very much needed! I’ll explain – using pesticide free Dandelion flowers, means the flower heads are teaming with little creatures! It’s inevitable and in a way reassuring that the flowers you are using are pesticide free. These little bundles of life will get processed with the petals and will be part of the Dandelion infusion. At some point they die, probably when the boiling water is added to them. The cheese cloth will catch them and prevent them from going any further in the production of the Dandelion Jelly.
Uses for Dandelion Jelly
Use Dandelion Jelly on toast and breads, on pancakes and waffles. Delicious with blue cheese, or my favorite spread over a thick slab of homemade Wheaten Bread.
Store in the refrigerator and use within 3 weeks. This jar of Dandelion Jelly is not shelf stable. The Jelly has not undergone the typical canning procedure where sanitized jars are used and then once filled, they are dipped in a water bath.
Do not freeze Dandelion Jelly.
Freeze unused Dandelion flowers for up to 2 months until you need them.
A Tip From Me
These are the tips to consider for successful Dandelion Jelly:
What type of Dandelions should be picked?
Ideally you want to pick true Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale). They are known for their hollow stem, filled with milky sap. There are no hairs on the leaves or stems, and the stems are not branched. There is always only one flower on one stalk.
Cat’s Ear (Hypochaeris Radicata) is another type of Dandelion. Known for its long, thin, solid stems which split to yield several flower rosettes.
Hawkweed Dandelion (Hieracium sabaudum) is a tall perennial that has a lot of small dandelion-like flowers coming from a single root crown.
According to ‘Grow Forage Cook Ferment‘ blogger, there are no poisonous Dandelion lookalikes, so feel free to gather whatever you have growing.
Where to pick Dandelions?
Do not pick Dandelions on any piece of land, lawn or road side stretch that may have been sprayed with weed killer / pesticide. Pick Dandelions from an area that you know is chemical free. Ask your friends and neighbors if you can pick on their property. They’ll appreciate a jar of Jelly in return!
When to pick Dandelions?
Pick Dandelions in the morning when their flowers are full in bloom. As the day progresses, the flowers start to close up. Try to look for smaller young flowers which will be sweeter than the larger more bitter flower heads.
What not to include in Dandelion Jelly?
Do not include any green parts from the flower head. These green parts will make the jelly bitter.
What to include when making Dandelion Jelly?
For successful Dandelion Jelly making, use bottled lemon juice over fresh lemon juice. Even though I used fresh lemon juice, the bottled juice would have been a safer bet.
I’ve got answers – hopefully!
- What happens if my Jelly does not set? There are several different reasons why this happened related to the ratio of flower petals, pectin, lemon juice and sugar. Rather than lament over the why’s – let’s just fix it by recooking it. Firstly, place something metallic in the freezer, like a small bowl, teaspoon or knife. Secondly, add 1 fluid oz of water, 1 oz of sugar, ½ tbsp of lemon juice, and 1 tsp of powdered no-sugar pectin to a pot and mix. Add the unset Jelly and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir and then let it boil untouched for a minute. After 1 minute, remove whatever you placed in the freezer and add a drop of jelly onto it. The cold surface will determine if the jelly has set or not. If it thickens, the Jelly is good, so transfer it to a new jar with new lid. If it did not set, then add another teaspoon of no-sugar pectin and bring it to a boil for 1 minute again. Repeat the metallic test and continue to add pectin until the Jelly sets.
- What is the difference between jams and jellies? Jelly is made with fruit juice or in this example a petal infusion. There are no pieces of fruit in jelly. Jam is made with mashed fruit.
- Shouldn’t I go through the whole canning process when making this Jelly? Canning is needed if you want to store jams and jellies for 6-12 months in a store room or basement area. Canning makes them shelf stable and so refrigeration is not needed. Dandelion Jelly can undergo canning, follow a trusted recipe how to safely can Jelly.
- 6 tsp powdered pectin one that uses sugar not honey
- 1½ oz dandelion petals or enough to fill one U.S. measuring cup
- 1 pint water
- 6 oz sugar
- 1 tbsp bottled lemon juice
- Using kitchen shears or a knife, cut the yellow petals off the flower heads.
- Boil water, enough to submerge the flower petals in a jar, about 1 pint.
- Put the Dandelion petals into the mason jar and pour boiling water onto them.
- Place the Dandelion infusion into the refrigerator for around 24 hours. Going beyond that will not infuse any more flavor from the flower petals.
- Remove the Dandelion infusion from the refrigerator and pour through a fine cheese cloth into a pot.
- Squeeze the cheese cloth to allow all of the infused water to get into the pot.
- Half the lemon and squeeze in 1 tbsp of juice into the pot.
- Add the pectin to the Dandelion infusion. Next add the sugar.
- Bring the Dandelion infusion to a boil and boil for 1-2 minutes.
- Then pour the Dandelion Jelly into a mason jar, screw on the lid, allow to cool, possibly even overnight and then place in the refrigerator.