After much thought and a little research I opted NOT to go with my brainstorm idea or my tried & true recipe and to go back to my original first choice!! DANDELION HERBAL JELLY! I had tabled this recipe because it was way too early for dandelions around here and I wasn't sure how dandelions were classified.... weeds, flowers, herbs?! Friday afternoon my husband came in and told me that the lower yard area had a bunch of them growing! Yippee!! I thought now, maybe I can try my hand at making this jelly! BUT then immediately I wondered again if they were considered 'herbs'. (Wow, not only a procrastinator, but a waffler too! I have been waffling between this recipe and my tried & true one, still concerned about classification.) I finally took the bull by the horns (so to speak) and checked online at http://nccam.nih.gov/health/herbsataglance.htm and I discovered they are listed as an herb! TA DA! Happy dance! Now for my recipe:
Dandelion Herbal Jelly (herbgardens.about.com)
1) Pick at least 10 cups of dandelion blossoms. Remove the milky stems to avoid a bitter taste.
2) Snip of the base of each dandelion flower until you have just the yellow petals.
3) Pour boilingwater over petals. Steep until room temperature or overnight if possible.
4) Strain through a coffee filter to remove spent petals.
5) Add additional water until tea measures 3 cups.
6) Combine tea, lemon juice, box of pectin, sugar in a larger saucepan.
7) Boil until jelly sheets on the back of a spoon.
8) Pour into hot jelly jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.
9) Secure lid & ring to seal.
10) Water bath 5 minutes.
1) you can keep petals in freezer to store until you have proper amount.
2) Some recipes add food coloring, if desired add 2 drops annatto coloring. (A natural coloring found in cheese making supply stores.
3) If your jelly does not set up properly open & reboil to thicken. REMINDER: You MUST use new lids to reseal & process.
4) ONLY pick flowers from a fresh, UN SPRAYED area!
WHAT YOU NEED:
* 4 cups dandelion petals
* 4 1/2 cups sugar
* 2 TBsp. lemon juice
* Large saucepan or soup pot
* Long spoon for stirring
* jars, lids & rings
* saucepan or water bath pan
Dandelions are so pretty in the fields! Around these parts, it is usually the first flower that children pick for you! :) Here's a walk down memory lane... 22 years ago, May 1988, "Dandelion Sunday"! (All we need is to add Louis Armstrong singing "It's A Wonderful World" for background music!) Ok, I know there REALLY isn't such a day, but my mother-in-law created that day when her kids were young! It's the peak day for dandelions blossoming in the fields! GOTTA LOVE IT!
NOTE: Thank you Tigress for the reminder to post anyways!! I'd really hate to have forfeited the rest of the year of jamcans! I am also in process of making a "Herbal Wine Jelly" hopefully it will be posted by tomorrow at the latest, just in case there is a question on the dandelions...