Celebrating diversity and making lemonade...

Celebrating diversity and making lemonade...

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Edible Flowers and Jelly

 In the Kitchen

A lot of patrons of the Farmers Market  are intrigued by the Dandelion Jelly that I sell. They look at it and think that it is honey at first until they get closer and can read the label.  I first made Dandelion Jelly several years ago and it is the reason I decided to try and make the Red Sunflower Jelly. Making a flower jelly is not that hard and it can be made from any edible flower. 
First, you make a “tea” by putting flower petals into boiling water and letting it steep. Collecting the flower petals is one of the hardest parts. It takes a lot of petals!  We have some dandelions on our property but I like to go to my friends farm and gather them...they are HUGE and I am able to pick enough flower heads in about 3 minutes to make the jelly.  To get the petals, make sure and try not to get the green part of the flower head.  The green part is a little bitter. You can kind of grab the base of the flower head and twist to release the petals. I have also just used a scissors and cut off the petals. 
For the Dandelion Jelly, I use 2 cups of flower petals into 4 cups of boiling water.   I have also seen some recipes that call for 1 cup of water for each cup of dandelion flowers.
Let this steep for an hour. I usually just let it sit all day. I pick the flowers in the morning, make up the tea and then come back to it and make the jelly in the afternoon or evening…whenever I find time. Making the jelly is pretty similar to other jellies…add lemon juice and pectin, boil, add sugar and boil again. Put in your jars and process. 
All parts of the dandelion are edible. I have dug up the roots, dried them down, and ground  them to make a tea/coffee. I know the greens can be eaten in a salad or cooked but I have never done that.  I recently found a recipe for Dandelion Syrup and this sounds really intriguing to me.  Basically, you make the tea and add sugar and then boil it down to thicken it up.

Back to the flower jelly…you can make jelly from any edible flower. Here is a pic of some edible flowers but there are much, much more than what is listed here…

Here is a link to a comprehensive guide to edible flowers. It says what part of the flower is edible, how they taste (flavor) and best ways to prepare them.  

Dandelions are so much more than just a weed.  Here is some information from We Don't Deserve This Planet regarding dandelions:

Here are some interesting facts about the dandelion flower:
The dandelion is the only flower that represents the 3 celestial bodies of the sun, moon and stars. ☀️ 🌙 ⭐️. The yellow flower resembles the sun, the puff ball resembles the moon and the dispersing seeds resemble the stars.
The dandelion flower opens to greet the morning and closes in the evening to go to sleep. 😴
Every part of the dandelion is useful: root, leaves, flower. It can be used for food, medicine and dye for coloring.
Up until the 1800s people would pull grass out of their lawns to make room for dandelions and other useful “weeds” like chickweed, malva, and chamomile.
The name dandelion is taken from the French word “dent de lion” meaning lion’s tooth, referring to the coarsely-toothed leaves. 🦁
Dandelions have one of the longest flowering seasons of any plant.
Dandelion seeds are often transported away by a gust of wind and they travel like tiny parachutes. Seeds are often carried as many as 5 miles from their origin!
Animals such as birds, insects and butterflies consume nectar or seed of dandelion.🐦 🐛 🐜 🦋 🐝.
Dandelion flowers do not need to be pollinated to form seed.
Dandelion can be used in the production of wine and root beer. Root of dandelion can be used as a substitute for coffee. 🍷 🍺
Dandelions have sunk their roots deep into history. They were well known to ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, and have been used in Chinese traditional medicine for over a thousand years.
Dandelion is used in folk medicine to treat infections and liver disorders. Tea made of dandelion act as diuretic.

I made Forsythia Jelly a couple of weeks ago and sold out.  The thing with flower jellies is that the flavor is very delicate.  I liked the Forsythia Jelly but I like the Dandelion Jelly more.  My next project is to make Lilac Jelly.  My lilacs are just starting to bud (everything is late this year because of our cool wet spring).

Do you enjoy eating flowers?

Have an eggcellent day!

Sunday, May 8, 2022

The first blog post...

 On the Farm

This has happened kind of suddenly but I don’t feel like I have a lot more to say in my blog posts anymore!  I have been blogging our journey for just over 6 years now. There have been over 200 blog posts in that time. Also, I am just feeling a little stress from spring planting and expanding the cut flower business. This is just a crazy busy time of year so maybe that is why I cannot focus on what to blog about.  In fact, I didn't even really get around to taking a nice pic in honor of Mother's Day but I had this pick of the geese from this past week so I just decided to use that... 

Back to the blog posting...I thought it might be fun to take a look back at where we started on this journey 6 years ago. Here is my very first blog post:

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Dream

Mark and I want to have a small farm that is open to the public.  We will have pastured eggs in the spring (and hopefully, all year), you-pick berries in the summer, a pumpkin patch in the fall, and a Christmas tree farm in the winter.  I am wanting to document our journey.  We are collecting lots of information right now...hopefully, will be looking for land and a home next year (2016).
That is it!  The whole post.  I guess you have to start somewhere.  Of course, this was before we even had a mailing list that I would share this through. The blog was mostly for my own reference to document our journey and help me remember back to where we began.  Let’s look at this first blog post and see how things have changed. 

First, we are not really aiming for a farm that is open to the public anymore. There are a lot of liability (insurance) issues with this. I am happy to give a family a private tour but it is just not feasible to have lots of people coming and going all the time. 

Pastured eggs…yes!
You pick berries…no
Pumpkin patch…no 
Christmas trees…no

I still continue to learn new things and this has changed the direction of our farm dream.  Keep in mind that this blog post was written before we even moved to our farm property. We moved to the farm in June 2017.  Since we bought a smaller property (4 acres), we don't have the room for a Christmas tree farm and pumpkins require quite a bit of space too.  We have adapted to the farm space that we bought.

Okay…what does the future of ReMARKable Farms look like?  Of course, Mark will still have his egg business. 

Here are things that I (Denise) continue to work on:
Meat chickens - each summer for our family and a select group of people that help with harvest day
Cut flowers - started with sunflowers and now expanding to everlasting flowers
Preserves - jams and jellies that I make from items that we grow on the farm or forage for in the community/mountains 
Apple Cider Vinegar - newest venture to utilize the apple from the 50 apple trees on the property. I will be experimenting with different flavored vinegars. Made the pine needle vinegar and have sold out so I am feeling hopeful about this new product!  Obviously, I could not foresee that we would be moving to a farm with old apple trees so this was not part of the original "dream".  

I think that all this is going to be enough to keep me busy!

Yesterday was the first Farmers Market of the season! I always sell some type of flavored lemonade at the Market. This week, the featured lemonade was Rhubarb Lemonade.  I gave a statement to the newspaper and you can read it here:

Of course, we just got the geese and they are so fun and have grown so fast!!!  They really like to “talk” with you! We have plans for other poultry in the future...maybe turkeys and guineas...

I think I may try to do just little update blogs every couple of weeks to let you know what we have going on. When I have something to write about, I will do a more “involved” post about that…we will see how this goes…I know this post has been all over the place but I just keep thinking about getting out on the farm and getting some stuff done today!

Have an eggcellent day!