Crave: Jellies made with edible flowers can complement dishes
photo by: Courtesy of Mother Earth News
Flower jelly is easy to make, and makes a flavorful addition to the pantry. Almost any edible flower can be made into jelly. Because flowers taste differently, a combination of flowers can be used to produce unique flavors to add to a variety of culinary creations.
When choosing flowers to make jelly, it is important to be certain you properly identify the flower. Select flowers that have not had any chemicals applied to them, and that are fresh and bright in color, without any dead spots. Fresh flowers will produce a jelly that is richer in flavor and color.
Lilac Vanilla Bean Jelly
Yields four 8-ounce jars.
2 1⁄2 cups water
2 cups fresh lilac flowers
4 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, pod discarded
1 package (3 ounces) liquid pectin
Purple food dye, optional
To make flower jelly, you will need jelly jars, lids and rings; a large stockpot with a lid, in which to process the filled jars; cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer; tongs for lifting the hot lids and jars from the boiling water; a funnel; a 2-quart or larger heavy-bottom pan; a candy thermometer; a ladle; and labels.
The jars can be any size, but the most common sizes for jelly are 8 ounces and 4 ounces. The jars will need to be sealed if you won’t use the jelly right away. Do not use the old method of sealing the top of the jelly with wax, as this method is susceptible to bacteria and mold growth in the jelly. Instead, always use new sealing lids and clean rings.
You will need about two to three cups of fresh flowers. Prepare your flowers by removing any brown spots, green leaves, and stems, as they can produce a bitter flavor in the final product. Wash the flowers thoroughly before using them. The flowers are boiled to make a tea, and the liquid from the tea is strained to remove the plant material. If you are using herbs, add them to the boiling water with the flowers. The strained liquid is the base for your jelly.