Dandelions have featured rather a lot this week.. As well as springing up with abandon on the lawn – I use the term lawn loosely – they have been a hot topic of conversation around the Twitterverse, in the neighbourhood and on the telebox. From dandelion fritters to dandelion root coffee, dandelion and burdock to endless gourmet dishes and even food for guinea pigs, everyone seems keen to eat their weeds.
Whilst I can often be found foraging and am the lucky recipient of other people’s veg and fruit gluts, I draw the line at eating weeds. Apparently you can even eat ground elder. Well YOU can….. but I’d prefer not to. However the thought of a spot of alchemy,turning something lowly into a fabulous pot of gold IS an attractive prospect. Think of me as a modern day Rumpelstiltskin, without the bad temper and penchant for stealing other people’s children. Cue – Dandelion petal jelly/marmalade.
I have made heaps of jellies in my time – usually apple based. I make elderberry and rose petal every year. Why not a spot of dandelion petal? It was labour intensive, collecting three decent sized tubs of flowers on a dry day and carefully snipping off all the petals. Other than that it is simple, therapeutic and the result is six pots of pretty,golden -flecked deliciousness.
Pour a litre of good quality cloudy apple juice into a pan. The crisper the taste, the better the jelly will be. I used The Orchard Pig’s Apple Rambler. Tip in about 60g dandelion petals and gradually heat to simmering point. Take it off the heat. Cover the pan and leave to infuse overnight.
I should warn you at this stage it smells rather like silage and looks like pondwater but worry not and plough on in the morning.
Seive the contents and put the juice back into the pan with the juice of 3-4 lemons (about 100ml). Bring to the boil gradually and add 750g jam sugar. I rarely use jam sugar but, in this case you DO need sugar with added pectin. Stir this in until it dissolves and add 20g dandelion petals. Bring to a rolling boil. It will take about 7 minutes to reach setting point.
Skim off any scum, ladle into sterilised jars , seal et voila – pots of golden deliciousness to enjoy and no dandelions on your lawn. Win, win!