Spring is finally here and dandelions are popping up everywhere. Dandelions use to be part of the normal food, but over time and the popularity of grocery store, dandelions have fell by the road side and seen as a weed.
Times are tough all over the United States, adding wild foods to your dinner plates is one way to stretch your budget and keep your bellies full. Dandelions are easy to identify and do not have a poisonous look alike to be worried if you eat the look like.
Dandelions leaves and flowers can be added to salads, the green leaves can be cooked like collards and served with corn bread and beans, and if you look in old cook books you will find plenty of recipes.
Ways to Identify
The leaves of the dandelions are shaped like a tooth and are hairless. Another important trait is the plant should only have one flower per stem. The stem should not have branches on it. When you pick the stem, you should see milky white sap.
All parts of the dandelion are edible:
- Petals are slightly sweet tasting
- Leaves and roots are a bit bitter, if you boil them and change the water a couple of time it takes the bitter out which also washes some of the vitamins and mineral away too.
Wash thoroughly, remove roots, drain, and cook one hour or until tender in boiling salted water. Allow two quarts water to one peck dandelions. Season with butter, salt and pepper. Serve with vinegar.
You can add all types of ingredients and seasons much in the same method as turnip or collard greens.
4 C packed fresh dandelion petals
5 C water
1 large lemon (2 tablespoons concentrated juice)
1 packet pectin
3 C sugar
Pour petals into a boiler with the water and bring it to a boil for 5 minutes, remove from heat, cover and let sit for 20 minutes. Strain the petals out and place the liquid into a boiler (should have 4 cups of infused dandelion water), add the lemon juice into the dandelion water, mix well, and return to a boil.
Add all the sugar, mix well and return to a full rolling then add the pectin, mix well. Return the jelly to a full boil, and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and skim off and discard any foam.
Some people add yellow food coloring, but I add a teaspoon of turmeric before adding the jelly to the jars for a beautiful golden color and special goodness.
Dandelion jelly will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks or utilize a water-bath for 10 minutes for pint canning jars to preserve for up to 1 year.