We use a lot of jams an jellies at my house. My guys eat it on toast and pb&j sandwiches. Its good as a topping for ice cream or a glaze for cooking meats, too. The flower jellies make great gifts. A basket of homemade and unusual things from the kitchen goes over very well at Christmas!
This is bee balm (Monarda Didma) jelly, red, of course. You can make jelly from the native purple too (Monarda Fistulosa) but the colour will not be red. The colour in the jars is natural. There is no food colour added. I am hoping to make a lovely pink wine from the gallon bucket of bee balm petals I have saved in the freezer.
I have a lot of the red in the garden and I like the colour, so I am using that for the jelly. I do have some of the native purple, as well, but probably won't make jam from it this year.
I have collected a gallon of bee balm petals for wine making. I will use a little of that in addition to what I picked fresh this morning. I think the ones I picked today will be the last of the bee balm petals that grow this year. Some areas don't have any stalks or leaves anymore, either. Thanks to Buck who is a great help in the flowerbed!
You can make jelly from almost any edible flowers. You can see my list of edible flowers on a previous post "Making Flower Wines". Some of these will make good jelly and some will not. Please taste it in a tea first to see if you like it. We like bee balm. Hibiscus is another one that makes good tea, jelly and wine. Mine are in bud now! Rose petals also make good jelly if you use scissors to cut the petals off, leaving the white bottom part behind. Its slightly bitter. I have a gallon of wild daylily petals in the freezer for wine. I could use a few of those to make jelly too. I don't know if we like it or not. I think I'll have some wild daylily tea today and see. I have some dark red daylilies blooming now in the garden I could use for jelly. That would have a beautiful colour! So many possibilities! Experimenting is fun!
Mint and other herb jellies are made the same way as the flower jelly. These jellies are used mostly as glazes for meat at my house. No one eats sage jelly on toast! I like the mint, myself, on ice cream and so forth but I am the only one that eats it like that. Hubby is not too fond of mint. Apple mint jelly might be good. I wonder if hubby would know it has mint in it. I would tell him, after he ate it and said it was delicious!
Recipe for flower and herb jellies:
2 cups flower petals (or fresh young herb leaves)
2 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup lemon juice
600 oz liquid pectin (2 pckges) or equivalent powder
(You may find that the liquid works better for this purpose than the powder)
4 cups sugar
So this is the basic recipe: same amount of water and flower/leaf material. Some lemon juice. Twice that total in sugar. One package of liquid pectin per approx 1 cup of water used, before adding the flower petals and sugar. You can make jelly from whatever amount you have.
In a small saucepan, glass or stainless, bring the flower petals or herb leaves in the water to a boil. Cover and set aside. Let this sit overnight or for a several hours. Strain, squeezing out the all the water into the saucepan. Put the pulp into the compost. This water is called an "infusion". Bring the water to a boil and stir in the sugar until well dissolved.
Stir in the pectin and boil hard for two minutes. Pour into hot, sterilized jelly jars. You can sterilize the jars, seals and lids by boiling them or running through the dishwasher with detergent by themselves on HOT. Put on seals and rings. Set the lidded jars into a large, tall pot. Put enough water in the pot to cover the jars with an inch of water above the top. Boil for 10 minutes (start counting when the water is boiling). Remove jars from boiling water, let cool and remove rings. Store at room temperature. Refrigerate after opening.
I use a water bath canner for this but its not necessary if you have a pot tall enough. If you use the short, little jam jars you might have a pot that tall. I use a smaller pot if processing just a few little jars.
Yum! Bee balm jelly is delicious! The scent is quite strong when I open the jar! I love the smell of bee balm! I often pick a leaf in the garden just to smell it.
Using all the richness God has surrounded us with gives me such a feeling of accomplishment! I love to line up all the jellies I have just made, while they are cooling, and just look at them. A full larder is such a beautiful site! We are so blessed to live here and have all of this God given splendour!