Dandelions and lilacs and apple blossoms. Yes. It's a good time of the year.
Truly, dandelions are an amazing plant. You can roast the roots for coffee, make your own homemade capers by pickling their buds, booze it up with dandelion wine, I mean, what can't you make from the mighty little plant? Lately, I've been eating a ton of dandelion green salads. They're great for the liver and at this time of year, not too bitter and quite tender and lovely. Sprinkle a few wild violets on top and some candied pecans and you have a gourmet wild-harvested salad if I ever saw one.
Last year, I heard about dandelion marmalade and was instantly intrigued. I finally cooked up a batch and was very pleased with the results though I have to say the dandelion taste is quite subtle, a bit of a stretch of the imagination really. But the petals are nicely present and lend a lovely little chew. Next time I try this, I think I will be more hardcore about it, leave out the citrus altogether, and just have straight-up dandelion jam. I'll keep you posted on the results.
1 large organic orange
1 large organic lemon
2 cups of freshly-picked dandelion petals (only the yellow part, no green bits)
2 cups cane sugar
2 cups water
1/2 box Sure-Jell
Pick full dandelion blossoms immediately before making the recipe. Pull out the petals from each blossom, discarding the green parts. Remove the citrus rinds with a peeler (discard the thick white part between the rind and the fruit). Chop the rinds finely. Chop the peeled lemon and orange into small pieces. Place chopped rinds and fruit with water and sugar in a small saucepan and boil for about 10 minutes. Add the sure-jell and dandelion petals and boil until thickened slightly, about 10 more minutes. Remove from heat. Sterilize 4 half-pint / 8 oz canning jars and ladle the hot marmalade into the jars. (My batch only filled 3 jars, probably because I kept tasting and sampling the jam!) Process the jars using boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Make sure the tops have sealed properly. More detailed info on how to process in hot water bath can be found here.