Foraging For Food – Dandelion Pesto And Dandelion Jam

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Foraging for Dandelions is probably the best place to start for a variety of reasons:

  • They are easy to identify and have no poisonous parts or poisonous lookalikes
  • They are plentiful
  • There are loads of different recipes you can use them in

I have two recipes for you today – one really easy and one just as easy but a little more time consuming.

Dandelion Pesto with Pasta

Serves 2
Measurements are rough and don’t need to be followed precisely.

1 clove of garlic, crushed

a large pinch of salt, coarse sea salt is preferable, or Himalayan pink salt

1 cup dandelion heads, with the green bits pulled off as they are bitter

½ cup pine nuts

¼ – ½ cup good quality olive oil

¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated.

Salt and Pepper to taste

  • Using a blender or a pestle and mortar, crush the garlic with the coarse sea salt and add the dandelion heads to make a paste.
  • Add the ½ cup pine nuts (which can be lightly roasted before hand if you prefer) and blend into a paste again.
  • Add ¼ cup olive oil, blending all the time, then add additional olive oil a little at a time until you reach the right consistency: like a sauce, but not too runny.
  • Add the Parmesan cheese, then salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour over fresh cooked pasta, and serve immediately.

The pesto will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks, but make sure to add about a half inch of olive oil to the top of the jar to stop air from getting in and make sure there aren’t bubbles in the jar.

Alternatively, pour leftover pesto into ice cube trays and freeze for months. It’ll keep the flavour fresh and the colour bright.

Dandelion Pesto

Excuse the poor quality mobile phone image – Dandelion Pesto is actually a beautiful, bright yellow.

Dandelion Jam

There are quite a few dandelion jam recipes around, but as a never-made-jam-before recipe hunter, I found them more confusing than not.

In the end I bought a packet of premixed sugar and pectin to start off with (if your store sells them, they’ll be by the normal sugar), but you can use fruit, which will affect the flavour, or just separate pectin and follow the manufacturers instructions.

I always thought jam making was difficult and complicated, but it really isn’t.

Picking DandelionsCooking time is about 20 mins,

2 cups Dandelion heads, the green bit removed

2 cups boiling water

zest of 1 lemon

juice of 1 lemon

3 cups sugar and pectin mix (or check your pectin packaging for equivalent measures)

  • Place two cups of dandelion heads into a mixing bowl and add the zest of one lemon.
  • Pour two cups of boiling water over.
  • Leave overnight to infuse.
  • The next day, pour the mixture through a sieve to separate all the leaves.
  • I like to add a few back in, just to add some texture to the jam.
  • Add the lemon juice and bring the mixture to the boil.
  • Add the sugar and pectin and boil rapidly for 10 minutes, then take a side plate, and using a spoon, drop a couple of drops onto the plate. If the drops are runny, boil for another few minutes and keep testing until the drops on the plate don’t run, but ‘set’.
  • Skim of the top layer of ‘scum’ that develops, then pour the mixture into warm (so they don’t crack) jars.
  • You need to make sure to remove all the air bubbles, which can be done with a wooden spoon or similar.
  • Add the lids and screwtops and put aside in a cool place for 24 hours.
  • The heat will cause the lid to ‘suck in’ so the jam will be air tight.
  • Once opened, consume within one month.

Dandelion Jam & Cream

Dandelion Jam

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9 thoughts on “Foraging For Food – Dandelion Pesto And Dandelion Jam

  1. Mike

    Just made a few kg of this jam and am very happy with it, it reminds me of Lift lemon tea


  2. That dandy pesto sounds just too good for words. I can see how the strong flavor of the leaves would stand up well with garlic and parm.

    Now, if I could just find me a dandelion picking helper that adorable!

    We’re hosting a foraging round up called Wild Things, and the featured herb for the month of April is dandelion. We’d love it if you’d submit this recipe. If you’d like to play along, all you have to do is send a link to this page to by the end of the month. Thanks!
    Butterpoweredbike’s last blog post ..Roasted Dandelion Root Rub for Meat


  3. 4little1s

    Hmmmm….Yummy ! I am going shopping later so I will make this. The lawn has not been cut for awhile so I can put the dandelions to good use :-)


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