Summer seems to be taking its time showing up despite the beautiful weather we’ve been having. The salmon berry bushes are lifeless and show no new buds or growth. I did see a few that had some sad looking flowers on them but only a few. The spruce tips have yet to show up but even so, there are signs of summer appearing. The dandelions are in full force and line the roads with their brilliant yellow heads. I’ve also been stalking the rhubarb growth around town since my own plant is slow in growing. I spent Saturday bringing in summer by canning my first jellies and jams!
I asked a lady down the road if I could help thin her rhubarb to teach my FFA students how to can. She said I could go ahead and help myself! We ended up with about 5 lbs of rhubarb even though the recipe only called for 1… now what to do with all this extra rhubarb….
They’d never canned before and I figured I could use the help and they could learn something new. It was definitely nice having someone help! Especially cutting all that rhubarb…having a toddler not running around was also helpful!They learned safe canning practices, proper head space, adjusting for altitude, and then they perused my canning books and looked at all the wonderfulness you can create and preserve! They sampled some of my cowboy candy, balsamic onion jam, and we also sampled the freshly made blubarb jam, made with Pomona’s Pectin.
Side note: I’m really happy Jay discovered Pomona’s pectin because it works with a lot less sugar. Looking at all the conventional Ball and Sure-Jell Pectins, they all have sugar and require a large amount of sugar to work! I don’t have much of a sweet tooth to begin with and we don’t eat jams and jellies very often, so when we do eat them, I’d prefer they weren’t doused in cups and cups of sugar. I ordered up the Pomona’s recipe book as well which is fantastic! I could not be happier with this pectin!
We didn’t get a chance to do the dandelion jelly together because I hadn’t been able to find a good patch in town that wasn’t next to the road. I didn’t want my flowers to be covered in car fumes, brake dust, and general road crud. I didn’t want to risk going into someones yard and them having sprayed chemicals either. So we took a drive (I rode the motorcycle) to the end of the road and picked about a gallon of dandelions off the beach.
It took a while to prepare since you need to separate the yellow from the green since the green is bitter, and who wants bitter jelly? It was also a pain because by the time we got home and got the kids to bed the darn flowers had all closed up!
I’d never had dandelion jelly before and it was definitely a new flavor. It was very light and not very fragrant but definitely yummy! It also has a beautiful honey color to it, and reminded me of desert wildflower honey that we would buy when we lived in Arizona. Not sure what I’ll be using it on but the blubarb was great on our sourdough waffles this morning and would also be a great ice cream topping!
I’m currently stalking the slowly emerging spruce tips to make spruce tip jelly and spruce flavored water kefir.