Friday, May 20, 2011

Delicious Dandelions


This time of year I start to get really eager for fresh produce.  Given our late and short growing season (it snowed here what, 2 weeks ago?) I often look to the woods for ingredients to spice up my cooking.  I love finding something in the wild to try but this time the wild was our yard.  I have eaten dandelion greens before but had never tried anything with the flowers.  We have a bumper crop right now and hubby was threatening to mow the yard/jungle so I figured the time was ripe to get pickin'.

The boys and I headed out with a large bowl and got to work harvesting the flower heads.  In some areas of the yard I noticed several tiny ants in the flowers so I picked the flower with the stem attached so I could give them a good shake before popping the head off into the bowl.  It seemed to work.  We had a few stragglers but not too many and since I planned to expose the petals to heat I wasn't worried about any extra "protein" that might be included.

After we picked about a gallon of flowers I got to work.  I dumped the flowers out on a piece of newspaper, and pulled out a paring knife, my cutting board, and my cheese muslin.  The goal is to remove the bitter green parts, using only the petals for cooking.  There are a few different methods of harvesting the petals that I have read but what worked best for me was to cut the bottom off of the flower and unroll the green bit, dropping the petals into a pile.  If you cut it just right it works like this, but often I still had to pick bits of green out. 




It took me over 2 hours to process enough petals for 2 batches of jelly and 1 loaf of bread.  If you're going to try this, get comfy, enlist some help, put on some music, something to help the time go by quicker.



When I had one cup of petals I started the bread.  I found the recipe on Fat Of The Land and it was really easy to throw together.  (he also has a recipe for deep fried dandelions which sounds amazing.  Anything deep-fried is good with me.  Just ask my thighs) The bread was slightly sweet and reminded me a bit, texturally, of zucchini bread.  The petals added a really lovely bit of color.  The kids gobbled it up.



(and so did I)


I will definitely make this again.

I found the jelly recipe at Simply Canning and it's pretty straight-forward.  The idea is to make a tea by steeping the flower petals and using this infusion in the jelly.  I wrapped my petals in cheese muslin, like a big tea bag, poured boiling water over it, and let it steep for about 5 hours before making the jelly.  The resulting color is a beautiful golden yellow and though I've read that you can add food coloring, I don't see why that would be necessary. 


The taste is very similar to honey.  It's a bit milder than the honey we get, but defiitely honey flavored.  I'm thinking I'd like to try making some dandelion ice cream...can you imagine having some of those pretty petals and that honey flavor in homemade ice cream?  Oh yeah...

What's your relationship with the dandelion?  Love it or hate it?  Have you tried some recipes yourself?

Happy Friday everybody, I hope you have a great weekend.




32 comments:

  1. ah, I knew it would be wonderful !!! and your photos are to die for, I would definitely break the screen to grab the bread & jelly, and ... call me when the ice cream is ready, OK ?
    you must be wonderwoman for managing to do all this while repainting the house & taking care of everyone ... you're my hero.
    oxoxox

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  2. Love it! The color is so pretty.

    Would the jelly make you sneeze if you sneeze at the site of dandelions? or is that because of those fuzzy seeds that fly everywhere. I forget.

    Did you eat the greens too?

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  3. Wow--that looks delicious! I'm not sure I have the patience to de-green that many dandelions, but I'd definitely like to try this sometime.

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  4. Wow! So impressive. Picking and processing a gallon of flowerheads is so much work. But, what a gorgeous outcome! Worth all the effort.

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  5. WoW! I'm going to have to try that next Spring ^_^ Living in the 'burbs everyone seems to want to spray their lawns with chemicals except us so I'm pretty hesitant about foraging around the neighborhood. But that doesn't mean I can take a little trip out to some abandoned fields.
    Dandelions are a good indication of what type of soil you have *most weeds are*. They usually favor clay soils more than anything.
    My husband also says anything deep fried is good with him lol.

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  6. Holy moley! I thought I hated dandelions but I may be changing my mind. You should be selling these creations to local food stores and restaurants, girlfriend.

    My word verification is 'fabbinch' and I declare all of these dandelion recipes to be fabbinch!

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  7. This is just the kind of project I love reading about. I'm so intrigued and would love to try that ice cream!

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  8. Wow! I never heard of dandelion jelly. I learned something new today. :)

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  9. Now, that's the 2nd time I've seen dandelion preserves on a blog this year. But this is the first year I've seen them mentioned anywhere. These recipes look stunning (your pictures are always gorgeous) and too appetising. Mmmmm.

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  10. There's a stand at the farmer's market here where they sell dandelion jelly. Maybe I'll actually try it this year! Looks beautiful.

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  11. i love that dandy bread recipe - just made it again recently and it's tasty. i find langdon's picking technique is handy too - easy to twist the flowers from the stem when they are still closed up early in the morning (but that requires me to remember first thing in the morning!). have a great weekend too!

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  12. Many years ago I had some homemade dandelion wine. It was wonderful.
    I pick the greens that spring up around here. We're way out in the country and off road so I am not concerned about spray.
    I love the picture of the green bit you took off. It looks like false eyelashes!
    The jelly is beautiful and I'll bet the bread was yummy.

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  13. My husband hates them. It's actually quite funny. He shudders whenever he looks at our lawn. The boys and I love them. Yellow flowers -- how can you not find them pretty? I didn't know you could cook with them. The bread looks delicious but honestly, I don't know if I have the patience for the preparation.

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  14. Great ideas...the flower petals are nice with violets on salads and the leaves meal a great pesto mixed with other greens. xox Corrine

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  15. bread & jelly - from a common garden pest! what a clever girl you are. It'll make me look at those lovely little bursts of yellow in a whole new light now!

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  16. Dandelion jelly is so healthy! I also eat their stalks (when the flowers are yellow), in sandwiches, they taste like endives, and they're very good to cleanse the liver (six stalks a day for ten days). I love these modest flowers.

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  17. I started this process last year and never completed it. When I was a kid my Mom tried fried Dandelions. We didn't like them at all, but were trying to eat them until she took a bite, spit them out and told us we didn't have to eat them either. They were very bitter. Thanks for inspiring me to try making jelly again.

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  18. I am a big fan of the noble dandelion, live and cooked, and highly recommend trying the flowers fried in batter (although I haven't eaten them for years. Love the jelly idea - and so pretty!

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  19. I have always liked dandelions, but I like them even now when I'm making cordial on them every spring. I even love the nettles growing all over my flower beds and in my lawn, since I make soup of them or just dry them and put them in my food. Long live the weeds! (Just wish I could make something tasty from couch too. That weed I do hate!)

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  21. Hello Lisa

    Picked dandelions on my break while at work. Will make this jelly this week.

    Thanks for your post!

    Best
    Tracy :)

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  22. I like to throw in the greens with my soup, they're supposed to be very good for you (detox your liver). I also dug up some of the roots, peeled them and put them in the soup last time also. They are quite bitter on thier own, but not after they cook for awhile.

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  23. Lisa, once again you won me with pictures .. the jelly is so very beautiful. Sadly, my husband is not a fan of honey but I'm still thinking this would make wonderful gifts!

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  24. What a wonderful post! Thanks for sharing all this wonderful information. Dandelion was a special spring treat at home. My mother prepared a thick white sauce with bacon, flour, sugar, egg, water and vinegar. When it had boiled and thickened, sliced hard-boiled egg was added, then it was poured over dandelion greens, wilting them. It was served over boiled potatoes with a sprinkling of finely diced onion on top. It's a PA Dutch dish. Makes my mouth water. Mom's almost 96 now, in a nursing home - I'll have to make it myself if I want some! She also did the same thing with endive or leaf lettuce.

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  25. now that sounds interesting..I have never tried it Lisa..but you make it look so very delicious.

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  26. Beautiful! I'd like to try this, too one of these days.

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  27. I am so going to make this.

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  28. Well, I never... How lovely! :)

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  29. I've only had dandelion jelly once, but man is it so delicious and refreshing! Yours looks scrumptious.

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  30. Those look so utterly delicous, Lisa! I think I may yet befriend the dandelion after all. And yes, dandelion icecream sounds dreamy. Please try it!

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  31. I love dandelions and can't wait to try the jelly!

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