Bless My Bloomers
Bless My Bloomers
Finally we are seeing more spring like temperatures. Gardens are being planted, flowers are blooming and the birds are nesting. It was such a pleasure to see these guys hanging around my house the last few days.
It is also a joy to see so many beautiful flowers. Enjoy your Spring!
Spring, a time I await with bated breath for the sweet smell of flowers and dandelion jelly. Here is my recipe for dandelion jelly. YUM!
2 cup dandelion blossoms, washed and flowers trimmed of calyx
4 cup water
1 package (1-3/4 oz.) powdered fruit pectin
5-1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon lemon extract (if desired)
Bring dandelion blossoms and water to a boil; boil 4 minutes.
Meanwhile line a strainer with a coffee filter. Place over bowl. When dandelion tea has been boiled pour mixture into prepared strainer. Reserve 3 cup liquid. Discard blossoms.
In large pot, combine pectin and reserved dandelion liquid. Bring to a full rolling boil. Stir in sugar and return to a full rolling boil. Boil 1 minute stirring constantly. Remove from heat; add extract if using, skim off foam. Fill jars leaving 1/8" head space. Process as per extension guidelines or per your canners instructions.
On a nice early spring day go outside to an area where you don't spray or pets don't roam and pick 6 cups of the dandelion blossoms. Bring in and remove the blossoms from the calyx. The better you do this, the better the flavor. If you leave to many greens attached the jelly will be bitter.
Once you have all the blossom ends pulled off, rinse well. If you have any large green pieces remove them as you see them. You should have about 2 cups of blossoms.
Place the dandelion blossoms in a pot with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and boil for 4 minutes. While waiting for the tea to boil, place a coffee filter in a strainer. Once tea has boiled, strain the mixture through the coffee filter reserving 3 cups of liquid. Discard blossoms.
In a large pot, combine the pectin and reserved dandelion liquid. Bring to a full rolling boil, stir in sugar and bring back to a full rolling boil. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add extract if you are using it. Skim off foam. Fill jars leaving 1/8" head space. Process.
You will have this beautiful golden jelly that tastes like honey, (if you don't use lemon) or a lightly lemon flavored jelly. Great on biscuits and pancakes.
If you make this, let me know how it turned out.
One of my shelving units One of my freezers
Last years garden harvest was one of the best we have had in years. It is amazing to me with all the rain we had in early Spring, that our plants and seeds survived. All Summer long I canned, froze and dried produce until I didn't want to see another bucket of tomatoes or squash.
Finally after having enough of canning and running out of jars, I knew there had to be a way of using all the excess vegetables. I had already frozen more vegetables than two people could every eat. We gave away an enormous amount of produce, I knew I could do something with the rest of those vegetables. A light bulb moment! Why not cook them and make vegetable broth. So that is just what I did. Below is the recipe I came up with, it is very easy to do and is great when making soup all Winter.
3 cups chopped onion 1 cup chopped carrot
As many fresh vegetables as can fit in your stock pot. I used zucchini and other squash, beans as that is what I had an abundance of.
1 cup parsley stems 5 - 10 thyme sprigs
2-3 bay leaves peppercorns about 1 tablespoon
water to cover vegetables
Allow the vegetables to come to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour or longer. The longer it cooks, the stronger flavor of the herbs and vegetables. Allow to cool, pour through a strainer, saving the liquid. Put the solids in the compost bin. I do not use salt, that is because of a specific diet we are on. After the broth is cooled pour into freezer containers and freeze. This keeps for up to a year and is a great base for soups.
There are a multitude of ways to keep a gardening journal. If you are like me- I can't remember from one year to the next where I planted what and which varieties, thus I began a garden journal. Keeping a gardening journal gives you a written record of your garden layouts, successes and failures.