When I was growing up dandelions were very popular. Every house had them. Our house was no exception.
I remember picking them by the handfuls for my mother and she would keep them in a jelly jar on the kitchen window. I would tell my younger sister to smell how sweet they were only to pop the top off as she came close. I would make chains out of the stems or put them into cold water and watch as they curled up onto themselves. I would wear them around my neck or in a crown on my head. How many wishes had I made by blowing away the seeds? By the end of summer all my clothes had the tell-tale signs of my love for dandelions, the little round circle that never come out in the wash. I wore it proudly.
Over the years my beloved dandelions became the enemy and the hubs and I waged war on them. They weren’t popular anymore. Nobody had dandelions. Entire neighborhoods and not one to be seen. We spent a small fortune every year on a lawn service. They sprayed and fertilized, killing every last one. We fought a long hard battle, our lawn perfectly groomed and green. It looked like a golf course and we took great pride in it.
Well I’ve grown up. I now understand how harmful it was not only to myself, my children, my animals, but also to our honey bees and the many other insects that have been destroyed because of our need to keep up with the neighbors. But that really isn’t what I intended to tell you about. I got off track. What I want to share with you is one of the many wonderful ways I enjoy dandelions now that I’m older (and smarter).
If you have never had it you are in for a real surprise. It is sweet and mellow. Almost like honey only lighter. It is a burst of sunshine in your mouth, warming your tongue like a summer day. Really, I’m not kidding! If you don’t have dandelions growing in your yard for some god awful reason, then you are going to need to plant some. Do it for yourself, your family, your taste buds. Do it for the honey bees.
- 2 to 2 1/2 cups of dandelion petals
- 4 1/2 cups of water
- 3 cups of sugar
- 2 Tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 box or 3 Tablespoons of Sure-Jell no sugar needed pectin
Gather enough dandelion flowers to equal 2 to 2 1/2 cups of petals. Try not to get too much of the green part because that is where the bitter taste is. And please, don’t pick where they may have been sprayed!
Put them into a pot with water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Strain and add lemon juice. Measure 2 3/4 cups of sugar into a bowl. Add pectin to the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Stir the sugar pectin mixture into the strained dandelion and lemon juice and bring to a hard boil over high heat stirring constantly. When it reaches the hard boil add the remaining sugar and boil for another minute.
Remove from heat and ladle into prepared jars leaving about 1/8″ head space. Wipe any spills from jar, cover and process in a hot water bath for 5 minutes. Remove and let cool for 24 hours. You will soon hear the signature “POP” that tells you your jars have sealed.
Dutch and Hauser wrestling on the lawn and rolling in the dandelions! I think they love them as much as I do.