To most people, dandelions - with their bright yellow flowers - are just an annoying weed. If you’ve been spraying these so-called weeds… stop it! They’re packed full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Let's not forget these flowers are an important part of our ecosystem, supporting the survival of our small critter friends, the beetles, birds and bees. Besides the medicinal value of dandelions and the purpose they serve to mother nature, you will absolutely love the sweet, golden jam you can make from these happy sunny flowers.
Dandelion flowers grow pretty much everywhere in the northern parts of the world. So you might just find it outside your house growing and since nobody knows the value of this plant, nobody will be bothered if you collect them for your own culinary use.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION OF DANDELION FLOWERS
We talked about uncovering nutritional information about flax seeds
in one of our previous posts. However, regrading dandelion flower, I did find a couple of sources claiming the flowers are a superb source of lecithin
- which is believed to maintain brain function and may slow or stop Alzheimer's disease. Lecithin is also supposed to be good for the liver.
Another source says dandelion flowers are a good source of vitamins A, B, and C, beta-carotene, iron, zinc, and potassium.
And if you can't stand the bitterness in dandelion roots or leaves, take note: Dandelion builds up its bitterness with time, so the best time to harvest flowers is early Spring (right now:) The flowers are mildly sweet. One caution, however; if you have allergies to ragweed, marigold, mums, daisies, or yarrow, you might be allergic to dandelion flowers, too.
HARVESTING DANDELION FLOWERS
I picked enough dandelion flowers from our front yard to fill a medium sized mixing bowl. It took me less than 5 minutes.
I then dumped the flowers into a colander and washed away any bugs and dirt.
I let them drain a bit. Usually i remove the yellow petals from the green part of the flower. Last time It took me perhaps a 50 minutes to pinch those petals away. This time i decided to save time and to keep the green parts on.
Note: When it comes to collecting the dandelion flowers, pick only where you know the plants haven't been exposed to chemicals (including weed killers). Most parks use chemicals to control weeds, and dandelions growing along the roadside "soak up" nearby pollution, so I suggest looking in wild fields or your own yard.
How To Make Dandelion Flower & Flax Seed Jam
Step by Step Guide & Recipe
INGREDIENTS I USED
- 3 cups dandelion petals
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (not imitation vanilla extract)
- 2 tablespoons of powdered pectin
- 4 tablespoons of flax seed
TOOLS YOU NEED
- 4 Jam jars
- 4 Lids and rings
- 1 Pyrex measuring cup
- 1 Funnel
- 2 Large pots
- 1 Strainer
- 1 Metal herb press
- 1 Wooden mixing spoon
- 1 Linen towel
1. First sterilize your jars. To sterilize empty jars, put them right side up on the rack in a boiling-water canner. Fill the canner and jars with hot (not boiling) water to 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Boil 10 minutes at altitudes of less than 1,000 ft. At higher elevations, boil 1 additional minute for each additional 1,000 ft. elevation.
Then let the jars to cool off and dry out upside down.
2. Than dump 3 cups of the washed dandelion flower tops in a stainless steel pot. Add 8 cups of water. Boil for 10 minutes.
3. Place a bowl on the counter or in the sink and set a fine strainer over it. Carefully pour the dandelion flower mixture through the strainer.
4. Place another bowl on the counter or in the sink. Place the strainer over it. Carefully pour the strained dandelion liquid through the strainer again.
Press down on the flower tops with the back of a spoon in order to extract as much of the golden liquid as possible.
Any remaining dandelion flower liquid can be refrigerated for use in teas. Or, pour into ice cube trays and freeze for iced tea.
5. Clean the pot so there are no petals or debris in it. With a clean measuring cup, measure out 3 cups of the dandelion flower liquid and place it in the pot. Add the lemon juice, vanilla extract, calcium water (from pectin box) and flax seeds. The natural mucilaginous effect of the flax seeds and pectin thickens it and gives it the perfect gelled texture so you can spread it like traditional jam. Bring to a full rolling boil. Add the sugar mixed with pectin. Stir to dissolve.
Bring the mixture to a full boil and, stirring constantly, boil hard for 1 minute until it can't be stirred down with a spoon. Remove the pot from the stove.
6. Ladle the jam into hot jars, leaving about 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp, clean towel. Place the lids on the jars and make the screwbands fingertip tight.
7. Leave overnight in a dark cool place overnight and you will be spreading this golden goodness on your favorite bread for breakfast!
Note: Store your jam in the cold dark place. The open jam should be kept in the fridge or frozen. it will be good for 3 weeks when opened and upto 1 year if left unoperned.
We hope you learned something wholesome today! If you would like more recipes and 'How to's' like this just let us know. We love hearing from our readers!
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