Friday, July 30, 2010

Making Flower Jellies

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 our dog, 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 grams 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!


~Tonia said...

This was very interesting! They jellies are so pretty too!

kathyinozarks said...

thank you, wonderful post

The Japanese Redneck said...

Beautiful color. I make berry, mint and pepper jelly.

Granny J said...

I love giving homemade jams and jellies for Christmas gifts. I've saved the recipe and will be trying it. Rose petal jelly would be gorgeous.

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

I am going to make mint and red pepper jelly this year too, when I get a chance.

Wills Kitchen said...

Boy are you making me wish I lived near you. I love jams and jelly's. And your making wine out of all this also has my mouth watering. When we have figs and can get them befor the birds we make jam. But we have not tried anything else.

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

I am sure there are just as many lovely and edible things growing down there. This is the cold north, you know. You have a much longer growing season than we do!

Oooo, I like figs! You should net them.

Maypops (passion fruit) grows wild there. It doesn't grow here, but I grew up in Memphis where we used to pick them wild and throw them at each other. I can't believe I wasted all those beautiful passion fruits! I'd love to have some growing wild here!

Rose petals and hips must be plentiful there and honeysuckle flowers and persimmons and kiwi and the list goes on. Surely you are surrounded with edible flowers and fruit in that long, hot summer?

Something else I envy you the ability to grow well is cantaloupe. I would love to have a huge crop of those huge, sweet juicy cantaloupes for wine and jelly. All I can grow here seem to be the little short season ones, and not many of those. They didn't even come up this year! Cantaloupe would make fabulous jellY!!

Angie said...

the color of your jelly is so pretty...i will be getting bee balm plants now, i was going to plant honeysuckle for jelly and wine, so i may as well add to it. Thanks for the great idea and recipe!

Leigh said...

What a great idea. They are simply beautiful. Exotic too, LOL. Perfect for gifts, I'm thinking.

JenW!~ said...

You have such interesting things going on.I always enjoy a visit to your blog. BTW thanks for visiting my blog.

Kate said...

I usually make jams since they are easier. Jellies are so pretty that I might just have to try them this year. I have a decent amount of culinary lavender this year and quite a bit of apples in the freezer - those might be a good combination.

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

Lavender jelly and wine is something I want to make nexst year! I am planting the lavender for it this year.

Diane@Peaceful Acres said...

Oh yum! I love everything Bee Balm. I'm looking forward to trying your Bee Balm Jelly, it's looks and I think I can already smell it....mmm so good!! Thanks for sharing!

Kathleen From Eggs In My Pocket said...

Just love your post. Here in West Texas, we have a lot of mesquite trees which produce a lot of mesquite beans. And yes, I have tasted the best mesquite bean jelly! Thank you for sharing your recipe! blessings,Kathleen

Leslie @ Farm Fresh Fun said...

Just found you via Gardenweb and am your newest follower. Learned a lot on just this page and will return soon to explore LOTS more!
Thanks so much for all you share,

Holly said...

I made rose pedal jelly for the first time this year. The grandkids and I were really impressed. One batch I used lemon juice and the other lime. It changed the flavor greatly but I couldn't decide which one I liked best.

Sam Gropler said...

Six hundred ounces of liquid pectin. Isn't that an awful lot? I'm not all that familiar with US measurements, but I know that 1oz is about 30ml. That's about 18 litres of liquid pectin. Close enough to five US gallons.

Providence Acres Farm said...

You are right! My mistake! It's 600 grams NOT ounces. I do apologize for that mistake. Thank you for pointing it out to me!