What I’m Preserving Now by Vicki Nowicki

April 24, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Editor’s Note: Do you know who stores winter squash under her bed to have local food in the winter?  Do you know who’s growing sprouts, under lamps in her basement for more local food?  Someone who loves to talk about four season eating.  There’s a good chance you’ve run across Vicki Nowicki.  She’s been a key player in the Good Food Festivals put on by FamilyFarmed.  She’s involved with Slow Food City’s Edge.  She’s an award winning gardener.  She recently offered some great preservation recipes to us in our comments.  We asked if she could give us a bit more, for a blog post, and she agreed.  We hope to have more soon from Vicki.  Enjoy these three recipes for Spring produce she’s putting away.

  1. dandjellyjar

    Dandelion jelly-Delicious, golden color and honey-like flavor

    1 Quart fresh, bright dandelion flowers
    2 quarts water
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 package powdered pectin
    5 ½ cups sugar


    Snip off stems and green collar of sepals under blossoms. Be sure you have picked in an area free of spraying and animal traffic and I feel you can simply hand swipe each blossom to clean off. Once you wash the blossoms they become very difficult to handle so I try to avoid doing that. In an enameled or stainless steel saucepan boil the petals in 2 quarts water for 3 minutes. Cool all the way down even if it takes several hours. This will impart the maximum color to the liquid. Strain through a coffee filter. Measure 3 cups dandelion liquid. Add lemon juice and pectin. You need pectin and acid for jelly to set. Bring mixture to a boil using a large jelly kettle. Add sugar all at once and stir constantly and boil at a high rolling boil for 2 ½ minutes. Turn off heat and when bubbles subside, quickly skim off any gunk from surface with metal spoon. Using wide funnel, pour into small, sterile jars(boiled for 10 minutes). Use toothpick to pierce any airholes in the jelly. Hot water bath 10 minutes.

    Makes 5 or 6 jars


    1. Violet Jelly-Beautiful, clear violet color with fruity flavor. Contains rutin, good for varicose veins(limited demographic)

      1 pint violet flowers
      juice of ½ lemon
      2 cups of sugar PER cup of juice
      3 ounces liquid pectin

      Collect enough violet flowers to fill a pint jar. Stuff the jar with as many flowers as possible. Cover the blossoms with boiling water and cover. Keep out of the bright sunshine for 24 hours. Color will appear aqua at first.

      Strain the infusion through a coffee filter, removing blossoms and debris. Place the juice in a heavy saucepan. Add the lemon juice, mix thoroughly and bring to a boil. Boil for one minute. Add sugar and pectin. Bring to a hard boil and hold for 1 minute. Turn off heat, skim surface.

      Pour into hot, sterile jelly jars and seal. Hot water bath 10 minutes. Makes 4 ½ pint jars.

      1. French Sorrel Pesto-Delicious on pasta or soup or steamed vegetables. Store in freezer

        2 cups packed sorrel, washed and stems removed
        1/2 cup fresh parsley
        2 cloves garlic
        1/2 tsp. salt
        1/4 cup pine nuts
        1/4 cup olive oil
        1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
        1/4 cup chicken stock, if needed to thin

        Combine all ingredients in a food processor, except chicken stock. If the pesto appears too dry, add the stock.