Saturday, May 14, 2011

rhuboozey and a dandyfail

Yay! First canning weekend of the Spring.
When we were at farm school last week we ate some dandelion jello. The instructor could not find any powdered pectin so just mixed in some gelatin to make a lovely yellow snack for the kids. We tried to make the dandelion jelly at home, but it did not set up right.

But how lovely does this giant cup of dandelion heads look?
The recipe is this: 4 cups flowers (just the yellow bits)
3 cups of water
4 cups sugar
juice of one lemon *
1 box powdered pectin
Put the dandelion blossoms (seriously it took all of 5 minutes to collect enough from our unsprayed yard, it took another 15 to make sure I got all the green off them) and water into pan on high. Bring to boil then simmer for 10 minutes. Pour through strainer with cheesecloth (or a jelly bag) pressing to get as much liquid as you can out. Strain again and discard blossoms. Add lemon juice, pectin and sugar to dandy water in pan. Bring to rolling boil and stir until sugar is dissolved, boil hard for 2 minutes. Pour hot jelly into hot jars and process for 10 minutes.
*there is lots of talk around about bottle vs fresh lemon in canning. I err on the side of caution being a new canner and use bottled because of the assured acidity. so bottled is about 2tbls. per this recipe

As I said we had some set issues. I have yet to make a great jelly. But we ate this over vanilla ice cream and it was delish. It is very honey like and I bet if eatedn regularly would have the same medicinal properties of honey in terms of warding off seasonal, localized allergies...

The rhubarb jam of last year (really was it april that I canned it?!) never really set right so I scraped it in the canning plans this year. Last year I ended up boozing up every thing boozeable. The basic recipe for that was "pour some everclear (you know that ultra overproofed lighterfluid like vodka) over berries. add some sugar. let sit." This year I decided to get classy and used this recipe for a nice cordial/simple syrup beverage that can be added to anything.

Rhubarb Cordial
13 good sized stalks of rhubarb
2 ish cups of sugar
1/2 pint water
strainer and cheesecloth

Chop up your rhubarb and add it to a non-reactive pot with the water.

Simmer until the rhubarb if soft and mushy whilst sterilizing your cheesecloth/jellybag in another pot of water. Put the cheesecloth in strainer over bowl. Pour rhubarb mush water into and let sit over night.
I strained again the next day to ensure a nice clear product.

Once strained add rhubarb liquid and sugar to taste (i used about 2 cups) and bring to boil. Boil one minute. Pour hot liquid into hot, sterile jars (leaving 1/2 inch headspace) and process for 10 minutes.
I got 5 and 1/2 jelly jars out of this recipe and have been enjoying it poured into icey cold water. Can't wait to use it as a drink mix!

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