Friday, April 29, 2011


I am so excited to show you my first EVER canning efforts!

We went out in the yard and foraged some dandelion greens (wilted and served with vinegar = delicious!),
some dandelion blossoms,
some of our borderline invasive mint.

We soaked the dandelion blossoms in water overnight to extract as much of the dandelion goodness as possible!

Keelin was very helpful with washing the mint! Smelled so fresh.

Mint in the jar before we filled it with water!
I can smell it just looking at this picture.

Spicy tomato jelly,
dandelion jelly,
mint jelly!

All perfectly set, all delicious, all properly sealed in the jars!
I can't believe how easy it was to can my own jelly!
If this first timer can experience success, anyone can!

My favorite of the jellies, the "lively" tomato jelly on a slice of my homemade bread!

Recipes :

Dandelion Jelly

Boil 1 quart  of fresh dandelion blossoms (no stems) in 1 quart water for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir juice. Measure out 3 cups of the dandelion juice, add a teaspoon of lemon juice and 1 package of pectin, powdered works best for this recipe. Add 4.5 cups of sugar and boil until gelled. Pour into sterilized canning jars and leave 1/8" of headspace. Wipe the rims well, add lids and rings. 5 minute water bath and you're done! Just wait for the tops to pop!

Note: I cut this recipe in half and it made four 4oz. jelly jars full of jelly! Thanks to Jill at Domestic Reformation for inspiring me!
Tomato Jelly
(makes 6 medium glasses full)

Combine 1 3/4 cups of organic canned or jarred tomato juice, 1/2 cup of fresh strained lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of Tabasco sauce , 4 cups of sugar in a pot  over high heat until it reaches a full boil. Stir in one 3oz. package of liquid fruit pectin and bring to a full boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir, and skim off any foam for about 3 minutes. Pour into sterilized jars, leaving about 1/8" of headspace. Wipe jar rims, adjust lids and rings. Water bath for 5 minutes, then remove and wait for the lids to pop, signaling a good seal!

Note: I used more Tabasco sauce that the recipe called for and it was delicious. I just seasoned to taste and we enjoyed it pretty spicy!

Mint Jelly

Crush 1 1/2 cups of firmly packed mint leaves, fresh. Add 2 1/4 cups of water into saucepan with mint leaves and boil of medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes to extract the minty goodness! Strain through a cheesecloth. Measure out 2 cups of the infusion into a large saucepan. Add 3 1/2 cups of sugar, and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Boil at full, rolling boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and immediately add in one 3oz. package of liquid pectin. Stir and skim for about 5 minutes. Pour immediately into warm, sterilized jars leaving about 1/4" of headspace. Seal with hot lids and rings, waterbath for 5 minutes, then let set!

Note: I let my mint soak for a whole afternoon after it was cleaned, crushed, and boiled. Most recipes I read also said to add a couple of drops of green food coloring, but I opted to leave it out. I didn't feel any need to add color to something already so yummy- it wouldn't have enhanced anything but the look.

Do you have any delicious jelly recipes or fruit preserve recipes to share? I'd love to hear them!


Samantha said...

This makes me want to try canning even more! and dandelion jelly sounds interesting.

LisaWeidknecht said...

Hi there! Hopped over here for the TGIF blog hop. I'm following you and hope you will come follow me too!

Jaunna said...

You make it seem so easy! Just curious, what does Dandelion taste like?

Beatrice said...

Super Cool!

I would try this recipe, but our family doesnt like jelly :)

We make a lot of fruit jam with all the fruit we get in the summer!

Thanks so much for all your lovely comments on my blog :)

jessica said...

My mom and I love to can! Sadly, my work schedule usually doesn't permit! But dandelion jelly?? I have never heard of it...I wonder what it taste's like! I wouldn't want to use my dandelions....because we don't have a fence in our downtown yard...with cats and dogs??? I think I will take someone else's word for it! LOL! Your's does look tasty though!

jessica said...

Oh by the way..I am over here from TGIF's blog hop....I am a new follower!

Laurie said...

I just cooked up a mess of dandelion greens with my egg this morning for breakfast. it's been so cold and wet here they are barely poking out, but I'm running out of greens in the freezer and the ones in the greenhouse can't produce fast enough. Everything looks great!

Dusti said...

Samantha, I was very intimidated at first, but it really was no biggie! Much easier than I expected!

Lisa, thanks for following! Will definitely check out your blog!

Jaunna, it IS easy! I'm not naturally gifted in the kitchen and trying to pass it off as simple, either. ;) Just try it and see for yourself! The only thing I did to prepare was to collect my ingredients, my gear (jars, lids, rings, tongs for picking things up out of boiling water), and a general knowledge of how to make sure things sealed properly. I was a first timer!

Beatrice, I will be preserving veggies, fruit, and pickling later on in the season- so hopefully I will post something interesting that your family might enjoy :) Thanks for writing your blog so that I can comment on it!

Jessica, dandelion jelly tastes like mild honey! It's yummy and I'm glad I tried it. We have two dogs and 39 chickens on our property, but I just got my blossoms from areas that are nowhere near where the animals are kept. ;) Thanks for following! I will check out your blog and follow back!

Laurie, they are so yummy! Before I started researching local plants to forage, I would have never thought to eat them! Do you freeze yours? I was wondering how I might preserve some!

Kory said...

Great post Dusti! I still haven't gotten a chance to try the dandelion jelly and it's driving me crazy! I'm just itching to try!

Dusti said...

Thank you, Kory! I'm trying to get around to all of the posts I've started but haven't finished! I feel like a slacker blogger here lately!

And we're only two more followers away from a giveaway!! :)

Dianna said...

I was going to go foraging for greens when they come up this spring. How does the dandelion jelly taste? What do you use it on?

Dusti said...

Dianna, I think it's good! Very mild and flowery, honey-like. My almost 5yr old liked it with some crunchy peanut butter on toast. I've been eating it on crackers! :) How do you prepare your greens? I'm always interested in new ideas!

Michelle said...

Great little blog, returning to the basics in life is a sign of the days,as more and more folks understand that being able to sustain yourself and your family are becoming a necessity in today's life.

I found you through the Copper Brick Road blog hop. Glad you posted your link!

Jill said...

wow, great work on the first ever canning! So happy the jelly turned out well for you! You can do the same thing with violet flowers too, and it's really cool because they start out greenish-blue and turn violet (like magic!) when you add the lemon juice! We did it last spring and we were all amazed!

Dusti said...

Michelle, thank you! It started out with me just being interested in reading about sustainable living, but I fell in love with the simplicity of homesteading!

Jill, thank you! When we were picking the dandelion blooms, I looked at the violets and though that might be a neat flavor, but didn't even consider it beyond that! What a great idea!

Kory said...

Finally made my jelly!! Linked to both you and Jill ;)

Dusti said...

Kory, your jelly looks AWESOME!