Foraging and Dandelion Citrus Jam

Foraging and Dandelion Citrus Jam

Have you ever eaten the weeds in your yard?!?  If not, today is the day! :)
Who knew friends named Lisa and Dandelions would have a connection in my life adventure?  Let me tell you that tale and let's learn together about the nutritious and delicious floral side of Dandelions!
I am excited to continue the Foraging for #RealLife series!  If you missed the kick-off and introduction to the basics, catch it here.  I love that  Dandelions have connections with two friends in my life, both named Lisa.  First, my year-long adventure in Maine five years ago brought me a Lisa who taught me to wish on a Dandelion before blowing its dried seeds to the wind.  Recently, a new Oregon friend Lisa invited me into her yard to safely forage! 

Let's begin our next foraging adventure with one of the first flowers of spring, 
one that becomes a magical mechanism for wishes...

Dandelions

First let's talk about this edible weed, the dandelion!  You may need to look no further than your yard for this wild edible plant.  Dandelions have long been eaten as a nutritious weed, you may have even seen them commercially available in salads for dandelion greens.  You may not have known that all parts of the dandelion are actually edible, the leaves, flowers, and roots. 

I am going to show you how to make a simple, small-batch recipe of Dandelion Citrus Jam from those bright and beautiful yellow flowers!  A quick online search will share that while we often see it as a weed, many societies see this beautiful flower and plan as an important medicinal herb, and it also tastes great and has a sweet flower.  While more research has been done on the leaves and roots, the flower is a very important part of this first flower of spring.


The flowers have a higher level of polyphenols than the leaves or roots of dandelions. Polyphenols help in the prevention of degenerative diseases.  They are also a good source of antioxidants (again higher than the roots or leave), which as we have discussed before (here in our Elderberry and Immune Support post), are essential for your body to fight free radicals.  


Fun Fact: Plant foods have 64 times more antioxidant activity than animal foods on average.


Read to the bottom for a great recipe to combine the powers of wild dandelion flowers, local raw honey, and citrus!  

Gathering Safely

If you have these bright spots of yellow in your own yard where you don't spray or use chemicals, then no need to look further on your foraging journey!  If you are like me and did not, reach out to friends and family.  I was lucky enough to have my friend Lisa invited me to come to pick from her pesticide-free yard.  Also remember, never pick near roadways!

You will need two overflowing cups of freshly picked dandelions, once you have those, on to the sweet and citrusy recipe and free gift below.

Time to Cook!

Ingredients:
- 2 overflowing cups freshly picked fully bloomed Dandelion flowers
- 2 large Organic Oranges
- 1 Organic Lemon

- 1-2 cups Organic, Local, and Raw Honey (to desired sweetness) 

- 1-2 cups Filtered Water 

- 2 TBSP Organic Chia Seeds (consider grinding if convenient to avoid dark seed color in jam, I used my coffee grinder) 

- Thieves Fruit and Veggie Spray or Soak to clean the fruit rinds 

- 4-6 pint (8 oz) canning jars and lids (I used four half-pints and one pint not quite full) 

- 4 TBSP Fruit pectin (optional to replace chia seeds) 

- 2 cups sugar (optional to replace honey) 


Directions: 

  1. Rinse in cold water and pat dry the dandelions. Separate the yellow petals from the greens – you only want the yellow parts for this recipe.  This is why the jam isn’t bitter, because there are no greens. 

  2. Wash the citrus rinds thoroughly using the Thieves Fruit and Veggie Spray or Soak.   
  3. With a vegetable peeler, peel the citrus fruits and chop the peels finely.  Set aside. Remove any remaining white rind pieces from the fruits and discard.  Finely chop the fruit pieces.  NOTE: I opted to toss the fruit pieces in my Vitamix for a quick pulse blend so they were chunky but not overwhelming in size. 
  4. In a medium saucepan, combine water, fruit pieces, and fruit rinds.  Bring to a boil and boil for 8-10 minutes. 
  5. While that is cooking, wash your jars and lids in hot soapy water or in a large pot of boiling water.   
  6. Add the chia seeds and dandelion petals.  Stir to combine and bring back to a boil.  Boil 10 minutes, until the mixture has thickened some.  Remove from heat and mix in the honey.  Overheating the honey can kill off the beneficial components. 
  7. Carefully ladle the jam into the jars.  Clean the rims and seal tightly.  Set in a draft-free area to cool.  Store these jars in the refrigerator for up to a month.   
Download and print this recipe to get cooking now!  Organic Dandelion Citrus Jam Recipe_EO4RealLife.pdf 

Share the bounty with a friend or neighbor to ensure it gets enjoyed fresh! 


Be sure to grab your free printable gift tags on the blog to make your jars even cuter.  The link for those is below the image.




Did you enjoy this info?   You'll LOVE my series on Sustainability for #RealLife, it can be easier than you might think to live well, focus on health, and show some love for the plant along the way!  Check it out right HERE.

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Information courtesy of Echo Alexzander