"In wildness is the preservation of the world." -H.D. Thoreau

Why eat from the wild? The answer is obvious to anyone who has felt the emotional uplift from the weight of a basket brimming with morel mushrooms, the earthy-sweet scent of digging Sassafras roots, or the heavy pulsing of a fish testing the limits of your fly rod.
There are a million reasons to eat wild, to get dirty, to taste fresh food. It is here where we connect to the Earth, our Ancestral past, immediate present and hope for a healthy future...

"Nothing else can build such awareness as surely and powerfully as practicing the ancient ecological art of humankind - foraging. It is not observation of, but rather participation in the phenomena of Nature that brings us to our greatest understanding of our place in the mosaic of life."
-Samuel Thayer The Forager's Harvest

Foraging in the Tip of the Mitten!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Flower Moon Recipe: Dandelion Jelly

The Full Flower Moon rose and fell last night, shedding light on an American Bittern, or "Thunderpump," that was making his strange calls in the swamps across the street. The primal songs of the toads trilling in puddles and a lone Snipe's ghostlike echo made the indoors feel like a jail cell. The warmer nights are here and the days are ripe with blooming wildflowers.

One such flower is familiar to all, loved by some and hated by many: the Dandelion, or Taraxacum officinale.

The First Dandelion 
by Walt Whitman
Simple and fresh and fair from winter's close emerging, As if no artifice of fashion, business, politics, had ever been,
Forth from its sunny nook of shelter'd grass--innocent, golden, calm
as the dawn,
The spring's first dandelion shows its trustful face.

Despite the poet's musings over this small, conspicuous flower, millions of pounds of herbicides are used every year to prevent it's "trustful face" from showing up on lawns and golf courses. This is a pity since the uses of Dandelion are many. Here is just one idea on how to use this ubiquitous herb: Dandelion Jelly!

All the recipes called for what seems like an insane amount of white sugar, something I try to avoid, so I found one on a food blog (http://borninthewrongcentury.com) that calls for honey. After trying that recipe, I've adapted one that fits my tastes a little better. Its basically the same, just more flowers since I had help picking, and less water per flower ratio to give it more of a floral taste.

Dandelion Jelly

8 cups Dandelion flowers (all green parts removed)
7 cups water
1 /1/2 cup honey
7tsp Pamona's pectin
1/2 cup lemon juice
7tsp calcium water

 The hardest part of the whole thing is removing the green part. But if you recruit friends, the time passes by quickly. 

1. Get the water boiling and pour over flower petals. 
2.Let steep for 24 hrs in the fridge. 
3.Strain out and press flowers using cheesecloth, coffee filters or a french press.
4. Put this Dandelion "tea" into a stainless pot and bring to a boil. 
5. Stir in honey till dissolved and stir in calcium water, lemon juice and pectin until dissolved.
6. Pour into sterilized jelly jars.
7. Process jars in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.
8. Enjoy!


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