You may be wondering what the heck I've been up to. Six months without making anything in jars?? Well, not exactly. I made a bazillion jars of various wine jellies from this recipe for Christmas gifts for friends at work and home – huge hit. And I just recently made a big batch of rhubarb pie filling from this recipe to restock the shelves for next winter. But yes, mostly I've been knitting – have I mentioned the delightful baby boom amongst my colleagues? – working, sleeping, and just being. Life, it happens.
I have, however, also been waiting anxiously for dandelion season to roll around (bet that's a sentence you've never heard before!) since last summer when I tried dandelion jelly at my aunt and uncle's in Nova Scotia. It was so lovely tasting and so gorgeously light yellow. My version is deeper in colour and and I think not quite the same in flavour (maybe somehow wilder tasting? is that a thing?), but altogether a success in my opinion as well.
- Crapload of herbicide-free dandelions (4 cups of just petals and fluff)
- 4 1/2 cups sugar
- Light Certo (my preference, anyway)
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 6 250 mL (half-pint) mason jars
- 6 snap lids and rings
Preparing the tea:
- Snip the blossoms off your dandelions, ensuring that you are removing almost all of the green bits. Apparently the green makes it bitter. This step took a long time. I sat on the deck and listened to podcasts and drank chilled bevvies. Can't complain. You want 4 cups of just yellow and white fluffy petals. I suspect you can probably be a little less exact on the amount than I was, but you don't want weak tea.
- Put your petals in a pot and pour boiling water over them. I think I used exactly 4 cups of water. I would use more next time.
- Let the tea steep at least until it returns to room temperature. I let it sit for 24 hours because that was convenient for me. I'm guessing this is why my jelly is fairly rich in colour.
- Strain your tea well. I used a fine mesh strainer, lined with cheesecloth.
Directions for canning:
- When you are ready to get canning, wash your jars in hot soapy water and rinse well.
- Measure your dandelion tea. If you have 4 cups, huzzah! If you have less, top up with water. If you have more, only use 4 cups. (Maybe you have enough to make another batch? Or if you are concerned your tea looks weak, you could boil it down to 4 cups to make the flavour stronger.) Put your tea along with the 2 Tbsp lemon juice in a large pot.
- Continue to stir frequently, skimming foam, for about 5 minutes.
- Quickly ladle jelly using a wide mouth funnel. Leave at least 1 cm headspace.
- "Bubble" each jar with a skewer or chopstick to release any trapped air. Wipe each rim with a clean paper towel dipped in vinegar or lemon juice. Place the snap lid down and screw the ring on finger tip tight.
- Put the jars into your water bath canner. Make sure there is at least an inch of water above the top of your jars. Put the pot lid on and return to the boil for 10 minutes. Don't start your timer until the water is boiling.
- Remove jars from the canner or let them sit in the canner until everything calms down.