Dandelion ginger jelly
To me, there is nothing sweeter than spotting the first dandelion of spring. That cheery little golden face peeking through the blades of grass or a sidewalk crack causes me to break into a slight giggle and my mind begins to wander back to childhood stories. Books and rhymes that carried me through summer days, building tiny houses in every nook and cranny I could declare suitable for fairies or school yard countdowns to those two cherished months of vacation. There is a spirit so unique to the dandelion that is hard for me to pass up.
These days I primarily turn to dandelion root and leaves to aid poor digestion or to support the liver when I feel it's needed . Spring is all about cleansing and adjusting your eating patterns to match the new growth of fruits, vegetables and herbs. I like to think that dandelion chooses its blooming time to remind us of this every spring and help make our transition a bit easier.
While I can't speak for the medicinal qualities of this jelly (sugar is sugar after all), I will say that the energetics are superb. It carries a powerful sense of whimsy, a taste of rich honey and a nod to the spiced bite of ginger. Slather on fresh baked scones or pair with a thickly cut piece of toasted sourdough with goat cheese.
2 cups fresh dandelion blossoms
1 cup fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
4 cups water
4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1.75 ounces (1 box) pectin
Remove the blossoms from green sepals as they are bitter and will affect the sweetness of the jelly; it's ok if there is a bit of green in the mix however. Prepare ginger and place in medium sized pot with 1 cup of dandelions and bring to boil. Lessen heat, add remaining flowers and steep for 10-15 minutes. Strain and measure remaining liquid into 3 cups. Pour back into your pot and combine, sugar, lemon juice and pectin. Bring to a boil and let bubble for about 2- 3 minutes. Remove from heat, skim foam off surface and pour into sterilized jars, leaving about 1/4 of an inch of air space. Let liquid cool before sealing and place in fridge to set.
Don't be discouraged if your jelly doesn't set right away. It can take up to 3 days for a jelly to shape and you can always heat it up again and add more pectin. Will keep up to a month in the fridge or one year if processed with the traditional canning method
Makes 3 cups
Inspired by Cider Beans, Wild Greens And Dandelion Jelly by Joan E. Aller.