Dandelion & Violet Jelly: It’s Delicious. Here’s The Recipe.

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Dandelion & Violet Jelly: It’s Delicious. Here’s The Recipe.

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Jelly is a favorite food in our house. We eat it for breakfast, lunch and, yes, desserts. With three kids in the house, we could go through a lot of store-bought jellies. Instead, sourcing our front lawn for dandelions and violets give us a cheap jelly that I don’t mind giving away for gifts.

Dandelions and violets may not seem like the obvious choice for jelly, but as soon as you make them, you’ll love the beautiful colors. Dandelion jelly is a bright, golden yellow, and violet jelly is a bright, pink color. However, many people turn up their nose at the idea. Won’t it taste like you’re eating a mouthful of flowers?

Surprisingly, the answer is no, although there are floral hints to the jelly. After all, you are using flowers. Violet jelly does have a taste that will remind you of grape jelly, with hints of floral. Dandelion jelly, on the other hand, has a flavor that is similar to honey or chamomile. It’s like a delicious tea on top of your toast.

How to Make Violet Jelly

  • 3 cups of loosely packed violet blossoms.
  • Juice of large lemon.
  • 2 ½ cups of boiling water.
  • One package of pectin.
  • 3 ½ cups of sugar.
  • Jars, lids and rings.

1. The first step is to pick all of the violet blossoms. If you have kids, this activity will take them a long time and keep them occupied. Picking the flowers is the hardest part of making violet jelly, but if you have a nice day, it’s a great way to spend time outside.

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2. Next, make a violet infusion. Pour 2 ½ cups of boiling water over the top of your violets. You need to leave this alone and let it infuse. Soon, you will notice the water turning a deep blue, then into a deep purple, depending on the shades of the violets used.

3. After it is infused, strain out the violets, leaving you with the infused water. Add the juice of one lemon.

4. Now, it is time to make the jelly just like you would with anything else. The pectin typically has instructions included. Mix the pectin with the flower and lemon mixture. Then, stir on the stovetop until it reaches a heavy boil. Jelly needs to boil for one minute; then you add the sugar required based on the pectin you used. Keep stirring until it reaches a boil again for one minute. Remove from heat and place it into the prepared jars.

5. For violet jelly, you just need to water bath the jars for five minutes. Let the jars sit for 24 hours to cool and solidify before using!

How to Make Dandelion Jelly

Dandelion & Violet Jelly: It’s Delicious. Here’s The Recipe.

Image source: Pixabay.com

Yes, those yellow flowers dotting your yard are good for more than just honeybees! Dandelions aren’t a well-loved flower, but they make a lovely jelly for your breakfast toast. When you go pick the flowers, try to remove the stems as best as possible. Stems are bitter and will infuse an unpleasant taste.

  • 1 quart of dandelion flowers.
  • 1 quart of water.
  • 1 box of pectin.
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
  • 4 ½ cups of sugar.
  • Jars, lids and rings.

1. Fill up your quart jar with dandelion flowers, not stems. It is better to stay away from chemically sprayed flowers. When you get them inside, rinse off the flowers first.

2. In a pot, add the rinsed flowers with a quart of water. Allow them to boil for three minutes to infuse the water. Then, drain the flowers from the water. Cheesecloth or coffee filters work best.

3. Put the strained liquid into the pot again. On average, you want to have about 4 cups of infused water. Add the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice into the mixture.

4. Read your pectin instructions. Add the pectin to the mixture and bring to a rolling boil. Make sure you keep stirring! Allow it to boil for one minute and then add in the sugar. Depending on the type of pectin used, you will add between 3 and 4 ½ cups of sugar. Stir this mixture well and allow to boil for one minute again, as you stir. Remove from heat.

5. Ladle the jelly into the jars. Process in a water bath canner for 5 minutes.

6. Jellies are a family favorite. From grape and blueberry to floral jellies, using what you have around you is the epitome of homesteading. In most areas of the country, violets and dandelions grow around you freely. The cost of these jars will be minimal, making them a lovely gift for Christmas, if you can keep some away from the kids!

Have you ever made violet or dandelion jelly? Share your tips in the section below:

5 Forgotten Things Grandma Did With Dandelions

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5 Forgotten Things Grandma Did With Dandelions

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In today’s world, people want everything to be neat, tidy and uniform – including their yards. The grass, we’re told, should be one smooth, green carpet.

But that’s easier said than done! Everyone knows that if you don’t pull them or spray them, “weeds” such as dandelions will be the first thing to pop up and ruin that lawn.

Perhaps the real problem here isn’t dandelions, but our unnatural expectations of what things “should” look like, as well as what constitutes a “weed.”

My grandmother loved picking dandelions out in the fields behind her home. She would collect them in her apron or a bucket and proceed to make the most amazing things.

Of course, there is no denying that dandelions can have a bitter aftertaste, especially if you aren’t accustomed to them, but given time and a few tweaks, they can be delicious.

When you consider that these “weeds” are chock full of vitamins, such as A, B, C and D, as well as minerals, including potassium, iron and zinc, it’s no wonder that our ancestors didn’t need multivitamins!

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Here’s how our grandmothers used them:

1. Dandelions as food

Think of dandelions as you would other leafy greens, like lettuce or spinach. This means you can use them in:

  • Salads (fresh from the yard, but washed).
  • Soups or casseroles (fresh or dried).
  • Green juices
  • Stir fry (chopped up).

2. Dandelion tea

Yes, you can buy dandelion tea in almost every health food store, but why not learn how to make your own? My grandmother used both the greens and the root. Simply boil a little more than a cup of water, add about a tablespoon of dried leaves and/or root, and cover and allow to simmer for three or so minutes. Strain and add some honey. Speaking of honey……….

3. Dandelion honey

This isn’t actually a honey; this is more of a syrup. On occasion, when honey ran low, my grandmother would make this.

Start off by gathering a bunch (perhaps four cups) of dandelions, roots and all. Wash and place in a pot of boiling water. Allow to boil for about 3 minutes; cover, and turn off the fire. Allow to soak overnight. Strain out the dandelions, and put back on the stove under a very low flame. Add about a cup of sugar and the juice of one lemon. Leave the pot uncovered and simmer slowly for about 30 minutes or until it reaches a syrup-like consistency. Store in a glass jar and use like you would honey. This tastes so good, you won’t believe it! Try it on pancakes for a really different taste!

4. Dandelion wine

5 Forgotten Things Grandma Did With Dandelions

Image source: Pixabay.com

Everyone’s favorite, right?  If you really want to taste some homemade goodness, you simply must try dandelion wine. For this recipe, you will only need fresh flowers, no roots or leaves. Be sure to pull the green little stem at the bottom of the flower. All you want are the yellow petals (nothing green or the wine is very bitter)! There are dozens of recipes online, including this one.

5. Medicinal uses

These little yellow flowering plants have a wide variety of medicinal uses:

  • Lower blood pressure.
  • Calm an upset stomach.
  • As a mild laxative.
  • Remove warts.

Our ancestors used dandelions for many years before they had access to doctors or pharmaceuticals. If the unthinkable should happen, a little bit of knowledge about this important little plant will go a long way.

Keep in mind that dandelions are a natural diuretic, so if you are already taking diuretics or any other prescription medicines, you should check with your doctor or pharmacist.

Dandelions greens are at their most tender and delicious when you pick them before they start to flower. If they flower before you pull them, don’t worry! They will just need to be boiled or steamed a bit longer to make them softer. Or, you can still dry the leaves, flowers, and roots for later use.

And one last reminder: If you collect dandelions in the wild, or from a neighbor’s yard, be sure you aren’t collecting plants that have been sprayed with pesticides or where systemic pesticides have been applied.

How do you use dandelions? Share your tips in the section below:

25 Reasons To Go and Pick Dandelions Right Now

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25 Reasons To Go & Pick Dandelions Right Now Dandelion, officially classed as a weed, is also a fantastically useful herbal remedy that contains a wide number of pharmacologically active compounds. Dandelion can treat infections, bile and liver problems and acts as a diuretic – which is probably where the popular myth that dandelion causes …

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7 ‘Miracle Healing Weeds’ That Are Growing In Your Yard (Got A Cold? Try No. 2)

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7 ‘Miracle Healing Weeds’ That Are Growing In Your Yard (Got A Cold? Try No. 2)

Mullein. Image source: Pixabay.com

Weeds are an absolute menace to most gardeners. They seem to grow 10 times as fast as the veggies you have planted, covering the entire garden and spoiling all of your plans.

But in hindsight, weeds have gotten a bad rap. In fact, the majority of the weeds you are killing are actually just as edible as the vegetables you are growing. If the weeds aren’t edible, they are likely medicinal. Think back a few centuries ago. Our ancestors lived off the land, and a lot of what they ate grew wild. They treated their illnesses, diseases, aches and pains with plants they found in the forest and on the prairie. Weeds are not all bad.

The following list includes seven weeds you should stop killing:

1. Dandelions. There isn’t a piece of land that the little yellow flowers doesn’t grow. Instead of hitting them with weed killer, pick them and eat them. The flowers and leaves are edible and are quite tasty raw or sautéed and tossed in a salad. Dandelion is rich in vitamin C, and the roots are packed with fiber, just in case you need to get things moving. It is a diuretic and can help cleanse the liver.

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2. Mullein. This is a monstrous plant that tends to grow along highways or in areas with lots of sun and a rocky soil. It is a nuisance, but it is also going to be a great way to treat a cold and bronchitis. Drying and chopping the leaves and using them to make a tea can relieve chest congestion. The little yellow flowers can be plucked and infused in oil to make a soothing ear drop for an ear infection. The leaves are incredibly soft and can be used as a toilet paper substitute.

3. Plantain. This common plant loves rocky, dry soil and pops up everywhere. It is your saving grace should you get a bee sting, cut or a burn. The leaves can be macerated a bit (some people will pop the leaves in their mouth and give a couple of good chews) and applied directly to the injury.

7 ‘Miracle Healing Weeds’ That Are Growing In Your Yard (Got A Cold? Try No. 2)

Purslane. Image source: Pixabay.com

4. Purslane. This one is an absolute monster and can spread out and choke out small shoots in the garden, but it is just as edible as the other plants you are trying to grow. The leaves are high in healthy Omega-3 fatty acid and are actually a very common ingredient in stir-fry recipes all around the world. It is also very high in calcium. In a post-apocalypse situation, purslane in the diet can make up for the lack of dairy and other calcium-rich foods.

5. Red clover. It covers the lawn in the height of summer and is often attacked with horrible chemicals. It is actually more of a purple, and not red, so don’t be fooled. Stop killing the red clover and start plucking it! Grind up the clover and put it on itchy skin rashes and eczema. Boil the flowers in water to use as a cough remedy. If you can get your hands on some red clover seeds, toss the seeds into your garden plot in the fall and use it as a cover crop.

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7 ‘Miracle Healing Weeds’ That Are Growing In Your Yard (Got A Cold? Try No. 2)

Oxeye daisies. Image source: Pixabay.com

6. Oxeye daisies. These are common wildflowers that cover acres of prairies and along the highways. The pretty flowers are similar to the daisies planted in flower beds, but offer a little extra something with their medicinal properties. The flowers can be used to make a tea to cure asthma and chronic coughs. Grinding up the tiny leaves and applying to bruises, sprains and swollen joints is an old-fashioned folk remedy.

7. Yarrow. This is found growing along highways and in fields. A variety of yarrow is often purposely planted in flower beds, but it isn’t the same. You want the wild stuff. It is an excellent way to stop bleeding, which is going to be very important after a disaster. The root can be put directly on a toothache to help stop pain while drawing out any infection.

Next time, when you head out to your garden or look at your lawn covered with dandelions and red clover, smile — you just hit the jackpot.

What advice would you add on using these weeds? Share it in the section below: 

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Check out these 12 nutritious edible weeds available just about everywhere

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Gardening can be hard work. Here’s some edibles that grow wild – and free.

by Leon Pantenburg

Who doesn’t want free food?

If you know what you’re doing, you’ll  find all sorts of goodies to supplement your diet.

If you know what you’re doing.

Take cattails, for example. All parts are edible, and the plant is

All parts of a cattail are edible, but don't mistake them for the poisonous iris.

These are cattails. Always look for the cigar seed head.

widely distributed – I’ve found cattails in swamps with standing water, and around stock ponds in the desert. But there is a dangerous look-alike iris plant that is poisonous. (Here’s how to tell the difference.)

Or dandelions:

Everybody knows what they look like. For most homeowners with a lawn, the plants with the bright yellow flowers  are a nuicense.

But during a disaster when the food gets short, dandelions can provide vitamin C and greens to supplement an otherwise bland storage food diet.

Be careful where you harvest them, though, and make sure the plants haven’t been hit with some lawn care herbicide. I used to pull dandelion leaves and feed them to my daughter’s rabbits. The rabbits preferred dandelions to all other foods.

Here are 12 edible “weeds” that can be found in vacant lots, in woods or any place where the herbicides haven’t taken them out.

DON’T eat anything you can’t positively identify.

 

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A Yummy Collection Of Dandelion Recipes To Try Out

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A Yummy Collection Of Dandelion Recipes To Try Out Dandelions won’t be around for much longer so take advantage of the free food that is most likely growing in your garden RIGHT NOW! I have been eating dandelions for years and years, My poor garden is running low on them now. There are a lot of …

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The Secret To Eating Dandelions Without That Bitter Taste

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The Secret To Eating Dandelions Without That Bitter Taste

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For many people, the annual war on dandelions has begun. We spray them, dig them up, toss them, burn them and everything else we can think of to get rid of them.

What we should be doing is eating them. The leaves and crowns are loaded with vitamin A, vitamin K, and healthy doses of potassium, calcium, vitamin C, iron, vitamin B6 and magnesium.

The roots, when dried, make a medicinal tea. The entire plant has medicinal value, including:

  • Tof-CFr — a glucose polymer found to act against cancer cells in laboratory mice.
  • Pectin — anti-diarrheal and blood and gastrointestinal detoxifying herb. Can also lower cholesterol.
  • Apigeninand luteolin flavonoids – these have diuretic, anti-spasmodic, anti-oxidant and liver-protecting properties; plus, they strengthen the heart and blood vessels. They also have anti-bacterial and anti-hypoglycemic properties.
  • Linoleicand linolenic acid fatty acids — to regulate blood pressure, lower chronic inflammation and prevent blood-platelet aggregation.
  • Choline — to improve memory.
  • Taraxasterol – for liver and gall bladder health.

What and When to Harvest

If you’re planning on eating the leaves or the crowns, you’ll want to pick them before the plant buds or flowers. Once it begins to flower, the leaves and crowns become bitter. You can compensate for this by soaking them in a couple of changes of cold water, or sauté them with garlic or other aromatics. The crowns are that area between the root top to about a half inch of the leaf stems at the base.

The flowers are usually harvested as the plant matures, but you’ll only want the petals. These are usually pulled from the flower and dried and then used as a garnish for soups or salads. The stems and flower base have a milky sap and are not eaten. The flower petals are sometimes used to flavor dandelion wine.

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The roots are usually harvested during the second year of maturity due to the fact that they’re larger. Wash and peel them with a potato peeler and then chop them into chunks to dry. You can use a dehydrator or dry them or place them in the sun from a sunny window. Some people have finely chopped and dried the roots, and they use it as a chicory or coffee substitute, although it has no caffeine.

Here are some of the basic dandelion recipes that have proven to be popular over the years starting with my favorite, dandelion crowns.

1. Dandelion crowns

The Secret To Eating Dandelions Without That Bitter Taste

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Using a trowel, cut the root and pull the whole plant. Trim off the leaves about half an inch above the root, and trim the root from the base. Rinse the crowns well to remove dirt and grit and then boil for five minutes. When done boiling, shock them in a bowl of ice-water and then put them on a paper towel to drain. You can serve them topped with melted butter and some salt and pepper, or sauté them in butter or oil with one, diced garlic clove and eat them as a side dish. I’ve also tossed the chilled crowns into a mixed salad.

2. Dandelion salad

Dandelion greens and crowns are usually tossed with other salad ingredients to take the edge off any slightly bitter leaves. I’ll usually use a base of dandelion leaves and crowns and add some sliced onions, tomatoes, other leafy greens like spinach, kale and lettuces, and then top with a basic vinaigrette of a half cup of oil, a quarter cup of vinegar and two tablespoons of water plus salt and pepper to taste. As a finishing touch you can garnish the top of the salad with dandelion petals.

3. Dandelion greens, with bacon

As summer progresses, dandelions reach maturity and many of the leaves will have a bitter edge. When that happens I bring on the bacon. This is a classic southern approach to greens. I start by frying a half pound of bacon until crisp. I drain the bacon and reserve the rendered bacon fat in the pan. I then add one diced onion and three chopped garlic cloves and sauté them all for about two minutes. I then add six cups of dandelion greens and toss them for about three or four minutes until wilted. I plate the greens and garnish with the bacon chopped into bits and sprinkle with dried dandelion petals and serve. It’s great with chicken or pork.

Keep Eating Those Dandelions

In most parts of North America, dandelions are plentiful for five or more months. Wild dandelions are best, or a yard-grown dandelion if the yard hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides. They can easily become a part of everyday meals and best of all, they’re free.

What advice would you add for eating dandelions? Share your recipes and advice in the section below:

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The ‘Super Survival Plant’ Your Great-Grandparents Ate – Hidden Right In Your Yard

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The ‘Super Survival Weed’ Your Ancestors Ate – Hidden Right In Your Yard

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Translated from the French name “dent de lion,” which describes its coarsely toothed leaves, dandelions are hardy survivors, and were a staple in the diets of Native Americans, pioneers and most all of our ancestors.

It seems like no matter how much humans strive to kill them off and spray a plethora of chemicals on them, they still come back. Although their survivability can be quite frustrating for those striving for a picture-perfect lawn, the humble dandelion can play an important role in ecological health and in supporting our own health, as well.

While there are many varieties of dandelions, the most common is the Taraxacum officionale. Originating from Eurasia, dandelions are now naturalized in the U.S. throughout all 50 states, as well as in parts of Canada and Mexico. The seeds of a dandelion can travel up to five miles from the original plant.

Health Benefits of Dandelions

Humans have been using dandelions for both food and medicine for thousands of years, for a variety of ailments. The entire dandelion plant, from the bright yellow-colored blooms, to the leafy greens, to the roots, is edible and is useful for both food and medicine.

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Dandelions contain many valuable nutrients, such as Vitamin D, beta-carotene, fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous, B complex vitamins, trace minerals, antioxidants and organic sodium. They also contain more protein than spinach. The health benefits of dandelions include the treatment of a variety of conditions.

Environmental Benefits of Dandelions

The ‘Super Survival Weed’ Your Ancestors Ate – Hidden Right In Your Yard

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Dandelions can help to clean up contaminated soils by taking up and concentrating toxic chemicals in their plant parts. (Obviously, you don’t want to eat dandelions from that soil.)

Dandelions attract ladybugs, helping to keep aphids in check in our yards and gardens.

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The deep taproots of dandelions aerate the soil and take up minerals that are returned to the soil when the plant dies. These deep roots also help to prevent soil erosion, by holding the soil in place. Dandelions even provide an important source of nutrients for grizzly bears, deer and elk.

Dandelions are an important first emerging pollen source in the spring for pollinators in the United States. This is critical, since our pollinator populations across the US are in steep decline, due to a number of issues such as critical habitat loss and heavy pesticide use in agriculture that kills important pollinators, including honeybees and monarch butterflies.

Using Dandelions

Bitter greens like dandelion greens are great liver-supporting foods that can be added in limited quantities to smoothies, as well as sautéed.

Dandelions can easily be grown in garden planters or pots. The seeds can either be purchased or gathered from any of the dandelion puffball seed heads in your community during the summer. If you do not wish to grow or gather your own, fresh dandelion greens can often be found at health food stores or as a freeze-dried herb. Dandelion tea, capsules and tinctures are also commercially available.

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They are a great addition to any cleansing program. Because of their ability to support the body’s detoxification systems, dandelions are a great herb to consume in the spring when our bodies are going through a “spring cleaning” on their own.

The ‘Super Survival Plan’ Your Ancestors Ate – Hidden Right In Your Yard

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Dandelions can be used in recipes to produce culinary creations, such as dandelion wine and dandelion jelly. Refer to individual recipes for which parts of the plant to use when preparing these foods. Dandelion roots can be roasted and used as a coffee substitute without the jittery effects of caffeine.

Dandelions also can be infused in apple cider vinegar and used as a salad dressing during a cleansing program.

Tips on Harvesting Dandelions

When harvesting dandelions, be sure to avoid gathering them near roadsides, where landscapes have been sprayed with lawn or agricultural chemicals. Meadows and abandoned lots – or your yard — are great places to harvest dandelions.

To reduce the bitterness of the greens, harvest them in the spring or in the fall. Young leaves are generally the least bitter tasting and can be added to raw salads. Cooking reduces the bitterness of the leaves and the roots.

To harvest the entire plant, dig them up from the roots.

How do you eat or use dandelions? Share your ideas in the section below:

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or cure any particular health condition. Please consult with a qualified health professional to determine which treatments are right for you and any individual health condition(s) that you may have.

Harness The Power Of Nature’s Most Remarkable Healer: Vinegar