Dandelion Jelly

Dandelion Jelly, or as a friend of mine calls it “Yard Lion Honey” is not your typical seasonal treat. While it is referred to as a jelly, its really much more the consistency of honey or agave syrup. This is the way it really is supposed to be.  Dandelion Jelly is a seasonal treat among Amish and Mennonite and truly lives up to the “Use what you have” standard.

My favorite way to use Dandelion Jelly is in tea to replace honey.  I also use it on breads and baked goods and with buttered biscuits or in grits.  Pretty much anything you think of using honey for, you can use Dandelion Jelly.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 cups of (packed) dandelion blooms separated from all greens.  This is the labor intensive part.
    • 1. Your blooms need to be fully opened and full of “fragrance”. The bigger the bloom the better.
    • 2.  NO SPRAYING OF ANYTHING.  Blooms must be from an all natural not bug spray, fertilizer spray, weed spray, etc.
    • 3. Blooms must be fresh and separate best within minutes after picking them.
    • 4. NO GREENS are to be left with the bloom “fluff” the greens will be bitter.

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  • 4 cups of water
  • 4 cups of sugar
  • 1 box of low sugar natural fruit pectin
  • Yellow food coloring

SUPPLIES:

  • A large pot for Jelly Making
  • 5 half-pint canning jars with rings and lids
  • Water bath canner
  • Candy thermometer
  • Fine strainer tiny, tiny, tiny holes!

DIRECTIONS:

  1. After perfectly shredding your dandelion blooms to a bowl of dandelion petals. Measure out 4 cups of petals.
  2. Boil all 4 cups of water  in your jelly pot.
    1. We are beginning the process of making your “tea”
  3. Once up to a boil measure ot 2 cups of petals and put directly into the boiling water, stir in.
  4. Let boil for about 5 minutes.  Take off the heat, then let steep for 20 to 25 minutes.
  5. With your strainer over a large bowl, pour the water and dandelion petals through the strainer.  Press the dandelion mush to get all the water out.  The water will look “dirty” it’s supposed.  The Dandelion mush can go to your chickens, compost bin or garden.
  6. Put the water back into your Jelly pot and bring back to a boil.
  7. Repeat the process with the next 2 cups of petals.
    1. put petals directly into the boiling water, stir in.
    2. Let boil for about 5 minutes, Take off the heat, then let steep for 20 to 25 minutes.
    3. With your strainer over a large bowl, pour the water and dandelion petals through the strainer.  Press the dandelion mush to get all the water out.  The water will look “dirty” it’s supposed.
  8. Put 3 cups of water BACK into your Jelly Pot and bring to a boil.
    1. I personally use any extra tea to add to kombucha brewing or save for the next batch of dandelion jelly.
  9. Add in your 4 cups of sugar and the pectin and bring to a boil. (I actually use 2/3 of a cup of natural pectin which I get in bulk from an Amish store instead of using mass produced boxed pectin).
  10. Have your candy thermometer in your liquid.
  11. When your thermometer gets to 250 degrees F, start your timer for 7 minutes.
    1. If you start foaming (and you will) add a pat of real whole butter as with any jam to deaden the foam.
  12. Once your time is up, remove the liquid from the heat.
  13. Add in 2 to 3 drops of yellow food color to intensify the golden color (the more pollen in the blooms the brighter the color will be).

CANNING & PRESERVING

As with anything made in season, its nice to stock up during God’s bountiful season, so you will want to preserve for the months when dandelions no longer bloom in mass amounts.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prepare your water bath or steam canner as directed.
  2. This recipe makes 5 half-pints of jelly so sterilize and prepare 5 half-pints, I usually have 1 or 2 4 ounce jars “just in case” ready to go as well.
  3. Prepare your lids and make sure you have good fitting rings.
  4. While your canner is getting ready fill your jars with the jelly leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
  5. Wipe down the rims of the jars with a wet warm towel.
  6. Place your rings on your jars.
  7. Tightly screw on the rings (not like Samson tight, but nice and tight).
  8. Once your canner is ready, place your jars in the canner.
  9. Water Bath or Steam Can for 15 minutes.
  10. Remove from the canner and let rest for 24 hours.
  11. Hearing that wonderful “POP!” letting you know that the jar is sealed, should happen fairly soon after the jars leave their hot canner.
  12. Let your jars rest for 24 hours before storing in a cool place like your basement pantry.

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I hope you enjoy this new seasonal treat and it finds a regular spot in your home pantry.

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay Rice

 

 

Spiced Ham (Spam)

spamSandwich spread, spiced ham, ham loaf, Spam.  It has many names.  I’m sure as soon as you read “spam” you either thought “Yes!” or you may have thrown up a little.  I will tell you that homemade “spam” is nothing like today’s cheap meat in a can Spam.   Depending on the spices you use in making it, it can be different every time you make it as well.

You can also “can” this wonderful concoction and make it into a sandwich “spread”, but it will cook in the jar, as does any meat.

So, here we go:

Ingredients:

  • 1½ pounds fatty pork shoulder, cubed
  • ¼ pound skinless pork belly, cubed
  • ¼ pound ham, cubed
  • 1½ teaspoons pickling salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried jalapeno powder (we like spice)
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon  garlic diced
  • ½ teaspoon dehydrated onion flake (or dehydrated ramp flakes)
  • ½ cup ice water

Directions:

  1. To make the grinding easier, place the pork, spread out in the freezer on a tray until well chilled.  Not frozen, just well chilled.  You are working with RAW PORK, PLEASE USE PROPER FOOD PRECAUTIONS, KEEP YOUR MEAT SEPARATED AND AWAY FROM OTHER FOOD.
  2. Once everything is chilled, process the pork in sections in a food processor, once  each one achieves the texture you desire add to a large bowl. I like my ham a little bigger pieces then the pork and pork belly.
  3. Now add all your meat together and mix with a mixer with the spices.
  4. Slowly add in the ice water to the meat and spices.  You want to mix this until it is emulsified well.  Meat paste.  (I do realize that sounds gross….)

NON CANNING METHOD:

  • Transfer into a greased small loaf pans; smooth top with a greased rubber spatula. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place in a larger pan with 2-inch tall sides. Fill the larger pan with hot water halfway up the sides of the loaf pan. Bake in a preheated 300°F oven for 1½ hours. Let cool completely before removing from pan. Cut into thick slices and serve cold or shallow fried until crusty.

CANNING METHOD:

  • Requires a pressure caner.  Make sure you understand completely how to pressure can meat before doing this method!
  • Prepare your WIDE MOUTH Pint Jars as you would for normal meat preserving.
  • Make sure your meat mixture has NOTHING FROZEN LEFT IN IT!!!! NEVER can anything that is frozen or overly cold!
  • Pack your meat mixture into your jars leaving 1 1/2 inch head space.
  • Do not add any additional moisture.
  • Clean the edges of your jars, place your lids and rings (tightly but not like Samson tightly)
  • Place in your pressure caner and FOLLOW YOUR CANER’S DIRECTIONS!
  • Meat MUST pressure can for 75 minutes for pints once it reaches the canning stage.
  • Let your caner de-pressurize, and once you remove your jars, you will need to leave sitting for at least 24 hours.  Make sure they seal.
  • Place on your pantry shelf and you have processed spam as a quick grab.

NOTE:  The canning method COOKS the meat in the jar, so it is the shape of the jar.  Using the Wide Mouth jars allows you to “slide” it out of the jar and slice the spam and then fry or use as a spread, its already cooked!

It may seem like a lot of work, but the flavor is so much better than anything that is mass produced!  You will never eat store bought again!

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay Lynn Rice

 

 

 

Homemade Biscuit & Dumpling Mix

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As by now you all know, I do not like to rely on boxed items for any reason to feed my family.  Nearly every thing that is mass produced can be made from scratch easier and less expensive at home.  One of the more common items in the kitchen is a box of “Bisquick” or biscuit mix.

As many of you know this is an awesome concoction which can be used for anything from biscuits or dumplings to pancakes or waffles…. yea, you get the idea.  For me we love dumplings.  My husband and I have this ongoing discussion on what a “dumpling” is.  For me there are 2 kinds flat dumplings and drop dumplings.  To him there are only one drop dumplings (the other are short noodles).  Drop dumplings are the fluffy dumplings primarily made from Bisquick type mixes.

Now, here is how you can leave that yellow (or white) box at the grocery store and always have this mix on hand!

INGREDIANTS:

  • 2 Cups flour (sifted)
  • 4 teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 tablespoons of butter (or shortening)
  • 3/4 cup milk

DUMPLING DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large bowl sift your flour and your baking powder together.
  2. Add in your salt
  3. Add in your butter (or shortening) softened
  4. Add in your milk
  5. Knead together until nice and firm
  6. If too sticky add in a tad of flour
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  8. Now roll into balls and drop it into your boiling soup
  9. Turn the heat of your soup down
  10. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes on low
  11. Finally enjoy!

Sometimes I will keep this on hand for quick grabs.  To do this find an air-tight bag, container of your choosing.  Sift in all of your dry ingredients together and label your container ‘Baking mix’.  Then make sure you make note of the wet ingredients to add later.

 

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice