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Dandelion Jelly Off the Safe Canning List

Some of you may know that I am extremely passionate about food preservation. I love to explore the science behind food and food safety. I also adhere to safe canning practices because it is important to me that my family has access to tasty, healthy canned foods. I experiment with recipes daily, but when it comes to making foods safe to sit on a shelf? I follow the science. Botulism is no joke.

Today, I want to chat about some crucial updates in the canning world that might surprise many of us who cherish home preservation. The USDA has recently updated their canning guidelines, and among the changes is a significant shift regarding Dandelion Jelly. For those of us who love foraging and transforming wild ingredients into delightful preserves, this update is a big deal.

Why Dandelion Jelly?

Dandelion Jelly has been a beloved staple for many home canners. It’s a delightful way to capture the essence of spring, turning those sunny yellow blossoms into a sweet, floral spread that brightens up toast or biscuits. But recent findings have raised concerns about its safety when canned using traditional methods.

The Safety Concerns

The primary issue with Dandelion Jelly stems from the pH level. Safe canning practices hinge on ensuring that foods have a sufficiently low pH (4.6 or lower) to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, particularly Clostridium botulinum, which causes botulism. Unfortunately, dandelions themselves have a higher pH, and despite adding lemon juice or other acidifiers, it has proven challenging to consistently achieve and maintain the safe pH level required for water bath canning.

What Should You Do?

If you’ve made Dandelion Jelly in the past, it’s crucial to reconsider your method. Here are some steps to ensure your safety and still enjoy the fruits of your labor:

  1. Refrigerate or Freeze: Instead of canning, store your Dandelion Jelly in the refrigerator where it will keep for several weeks, or freeze it for longer storage. Here is a freezer version that tastes great and keeps well.
  2. Explore Alternatives: If you’re set on canning, consider exploring other wildflower jellies or herbal preserves that have a proven safety record, like violet or lavender jelly.
  3. Stay Informed: Always keep up-to-date with the latest guidelines from reliable sources such as the USDA or your local extension office. Canning is a wonderful way to preserve the bounty, but safety must always come first.

Moving Forward

While it’s disappointing to see Dandelion Jelly no longer on the list of safe canning recipes, it’s a necessary step to ensure we’re all preserving food in the safest way possible. I encourage you to experiment with new recipes and share your experiences. Together, we can continue to enjoy the traditions of home canning while embracing the highest standards of safety.

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