It’s that time of year again.. little yellow heads popping up to announce Spring arrival. I’m a happy Beekeeper when I see all those fields of yellow everywhere we go…
Dandelions are a very important flower for our bees. It’s one of their first foods after a long winter, and they have been so busy visiting them, when I walk by our hives I can smell the strong scent of dandelion honey being made calling me to harvest in a few weeks.
While I wait for my honeycomb to fill.. I might as well make some Dandelion Jelly. Dandelions are a beautiful little flower, with a bad rap.. but full of medicinal benefits. The roots can be made into a tea, the leaves are wonderful in a salad.. and the petals make a delicious Jelly.. and an even better wine.
Picking the Petals can be a bit of a chore. There is a trick.. or ‘Hack’ as the girls would say.. to filling up your bucket of petals. If you are picking them for Jelly it’s not so bad.. we only need two cups.. but wine.. you will need a bucketful. Everyone has a method of their own.. my method starts with a your favorite picking bucket, a short stool, and a pair of scissors. Find a spot.. make sure it is away from traffic, both people and vehicle. (and make certain it is spray free too.)
Look for dandelions that have already been visited by the bees.. Not only because the bees need the pollen and nectar more than I need Jelly.. but because pollinated dandelions are easier to snip.
How to tell the difference: Pollinated Dandelions look fuzzier.. where pollen filled dandelions have more of a closed center of petals.
Pollinated Dandelions are on their way to closing before they transform into big balls of wishes. If your looking to lessen the amount of Dandelions on your lawn (and you have enough roots, leaves and petals) this would make a great time to mow.. before the flower turns to seed.. but after the bees are finished.
Now that you are sitting in your spot, surrounded by pollinated dandelions.. Get your Scissors and your Bucket out. I like to hold the petals closed with one hand, while snipping underneath (but above the green stem).
The milk in the stem tends to make things bitter so Avoid it at all costs.. It’s okay if you get a little green which is why I snip just above “Kermit’s neck” (the bit that looks like Kermit the Frog’s Neckline – See Photo)
I wrote a little post a few years back when the girls were a little smaller about our adventures Hunting the Dandy Lion which includes a recipe to our Dandelion Jelly.