‘Make a wish’… Hands-up, we’ve all done it. Picking the pom-pom seed head of a dandelion flower and blowing the little white florets into the air. You’ve got to admit, it’s an enchanting moment even as an adult.
For most, the dandelion flower has become renowned as a nuisance. It’s reputation as a weed not welcome in ornamental gardens. Truth is, it’s a valuable little flower that offers so many health and environmental benefits.
Their bright, open head flowers are fantastic at attracting insects to help with crop pollination and packed with vitamins, both the flowers and leaves can be eaten in salads or stir frys. It’s used in herbal medicine to treat inflammation and help lower blood pressure.
I’m learning to value all plants and flowers and wanted to give the dandelion a chance to shine in the kitchen too!
I’ve been making jam and chutney for years and this is the first time I’ve used foraged flowers to do so. If you’re a beginner jam maker, this really is the perfect recipe to get you started. It’s low cost, quick to make and tastes similar to honey; absolutely delicious!
600ml boiling water
1kg jam sugar (with added pectin)
½ bottle / 125ml Certo liquid pectin
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp dairy free spread
¼ tsp turmeric powder
2 large bowls
Muslin straining cloth
Stainless steel jam making pan
Saucer (chilled in the fridge)
4-5 clean, sterilized hot jam jars
Jam jar funnel
Wax paper discs
Before you begin picking, ensure the dandelions are foraged from an organic site and haven’t been sprayed with chemical herbicides.
Gather approximately 10 large handfuls of dandelion flower heads. Pick the flowers on a dry day when they are open and in full bloom. Shake off any insects and leave to stand outside for a few minutes to give any additional wildlife a chance to escape!
Put the petals into a bowl and pour 600ml of boiling water over the top. Leave to steep until the water is at room temperature, or alternatively, leave overnight. This is known as a making a dandelion tea.
Add a teaspoon of dairy free spread to help disperse any foam that forms on the surface of the pan. Remove the foam with a slotted spoon and discard, this will ensure the jam is crystal clear and retains a vibrant colour when jared.
To know when setting point has been reached, spoon some jam onto a chilled saucer and leave to stand for 2-3 minutes. Run the back of your fingernail through the jam. If it wrinkles, then you know the jam is ready and will set. If no wrinkles or ripples appear return the pan to the heat and boil for a further 10 mins.
Finally pour the jam into hot jars using a jug and a jam funnel. Place each jam jar flat on the work surface, holding it steady with a tea towel as you pour. Fill them right to the top of the jar. A few fresh dandelion petals can be added to the top of each jar as decoration. Wipe the rim of the jars clean, seal with wax paper discs and screw the lids on tightly. The jam will cool and set overnight in the jars and can be eaten the following day.
Have you made this recipe? If so, how did you find it? Tell us your comments, or ask us any questions you have and we’ll reply soon.