Making sweet honey-flavored jelly is as easy as picking a few weeds and cooking up the yellow blossoms…into Dandelion Jelly. Yes, really!
This recipe was originally published in 2014 – and has become our most popular recipe. I’ve updated the post with new photos and retested the recipe to make certain it comes out just right. Please try it!
Here are the reasons you MUST make Dandelion Jelly:
- Fun: The funnest (I know it’s not a word) recipe I’ve ever made!
- Green thumb not needed: Even urban dwellers can find dandelions growing…somewhere.
- Try our foraging: No fear that you might get a deadly dose of a poisonous plant. Dandelions are easy to identify.
- Farm to table: Taking a product from farm (or lawn) to table is rewarding to do with your kids.
- Surprisingly easy: Almost as easy as finding dandelions.
- Sweet honey flavor: This Dandelion Jelly tastes EXACTLY like honey. After all, bees take nectar from dandelions to make honey – in this recipe, you just steep nectar-rich petal, add sugar, a little lemon and you’ve got Dandelion Jelly.
Each spring, as the first dandelions pop up on lawn, I’m somewhat enchanted by this lovely recipe header from my cookbook Cider Beans, Wild Greens, and Dandelion Jelly by Joan E. Aller (a gift from Deanna.) “Dandelions are not weeds…According to the USDA, dandelions are more nutritious than broccoli or spinach…They have a delicate flavor and are still enjoyed in southern Appalachian dishes today…from wine to jellies to greens.”
This year I finally made the jelly – and really, it was as easy as picking a few blossoms, steeping them, adding sugar and cooking for 5 minutes. I actually used the recipe in the book only as a starting point and changed all parts of the recipe including the ingredient amounts and instructions (my recipe below.) I shared it with several friends, including a 75-year old neighbor who brought over his rototiller to plow up a garden patch for me. (I’m beyond excited to finally have an official 5-foot x 12-foot garden. Now CAN I keep it weeded??)
All my tasters (including my 9-year-old’s little friends who helped me pick dandelions) had the same response: “It tastes just like honey!”Print
How to Make Dandelion Jelly: Cooking With Weeds
Forage for dandelions, then make this easy Dandelion Jelly.
- Yield: 5 half-pint jars
3 cups packed very fresh dandelion blossoms – from unsprayed plants! (about 4 oz)
4 cups water
4 cups sugar (don’t use less)
1 box powdered pectin for less sugar recipes
2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice (fresh lemons have varying acidity – so use bottled)
1 drop yellow food coloring if desired (without this coloring is a bit more greenish)
- Using your thumb fingernail, cut and pluck the yellow blossom out of the tiny green leaves holding it. (Your thumb will get sticky and the flower will separate into petals.) Remove as much of the green as possible because green is bitter and turns the jelly green; I had just a tiny bit of green on almost each blossom. (See photo below.) By now, your blossoms will weigh about 2.35 oz.
- In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add half the blossoms, stir. Cover. Turn off water and steep for 20 minutes. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain out and gently push on blossoms to remove some of the water. Add the same dandelion water back to saucepan and bring to a boil. Add remaining blossoms; cover. Steep 15 minutes. Strain out blossoms, pressing to remove water.
- Measure steeping liquid to 3 cups; add sugar, pectin, lemon juice and (optional) food coloring and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil for 1 minute, then skim off foam with a wooden spoon.
- Pour into hot sterilized half-pint jars leaving 1/4-inch headspace and store in the refrigerator – or process according to canner manufacturer’s instructions.
This recipe does not gel to thick jelly. It is the consistency of honey – which we like – as we use it just like honey. If you want it to gel to thick jelly, add an additional 1/2 cup sugar, for a total of 4 1/2 cups.
Have you ever foraged for your food? What about dandelion greens – might you eat them in a salad? I ate these above – when small and tender they have only a slightly bitter bite.