|A wild violet growing near my front porch.|
I have been meaning to write this post for over a month now, but spring is busy (I may have mentioned that a few times before!).
Last spring I wanted to try making flower jelly, but by the time I had the time to get it together the spring flowers were done. So this spring I jumped right on it the second the dandelions and wild violets began to bloom.
I have to say I didn't even follow through with my first batch of dandelion jelly. I made the tea, the first step, and it was brownish and smelled of weeds, so I dumped it. I will likely try it again, though, as a neighbor recently told me that good dandelion jelly tastes a good deal like honey and showed me a jar of hers.
The wild violet, on the other hand, was amazing.
Wild Violet and Lilac Jelly
Makes about 4-5 half pints
- 2 cups mixed wild violet and lilac petals with all leaves and stems and flower bases removed... ONLY PETALS
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 4 cups sugar
- 1 3oz packet of Certo Pectin
Pour boiling water over petals in a glass or ceramic bowl and cover. Allow mixture to steep until cooled completely- I usually left mine overnight and strained it in the morning. At this point you can move on to make the jelly, or mix in the lemon juice and store in the refridgerator up to 48 hours. Adding the lemon juice is the coolest part- the mixture goes from a brackish purple to bright magenta. Actually, if you want to have a purple jelly instead of pink you could use less lemon juice, as the reaction with the acid is what causes the color change. I've made purple simple syrup by using only 1 tsp. of lemon juice- experiment until you get what you want. Because of the amount of sugar the high acid isn't necessary for food safety, although I feel it does enhance the flavor of the finished product.
To make the jelly, first prepare and heat your jars and lids (friendly reminder!), then mix the flower "tea," lemon juice (if not already added), and sugar in a 3 quart saucepan or larger. Heat to a full rolling boil (a boil that can not be stirred out) then add the pectin, return to a boil, and boil for 2 minutes, skimming any foam that appears on top. Immediately ladle into prepared jars, wipe rims, and lid. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. (More on basic canning technique HERE... the actual process of canning is the same as with tomatoes, just the recipe and processing times differ).
I've tasted it (only on a spoon... I'm not big on jelly-ing my baked goods) and my daughter has eaten it a few times for breakfast, and all reviews have been positive. Most of the jars I made will be given away, though- many of them as favors at my sister's wedding in November.
Check out more recipes for preserving food at Laura Williams' Home Preserving Carnival.