My eyes were opened to a whole new world of jams and jellies by two wonderful ladies that are also vendors at the Mt. Pleasant Farmer’s Market. I met them on opening day as I wandered around the market to meet the farmers and introduce myself. They were offering a variety of jellies made from wildflowers that they had gathered themselves.. I was immediately interested, but they also had samples! They had made jelly from dandelions, elder flowers, queen anne’s lace and red clovers, so I made a point of trying a sample of each! I had never even heard of any such thing.. jelly made from flowers? What a cool idea.. and what a tasty jelly! I ended up bringing home a jar of the queen anne’s lace for the family to try and they loved it too!
Now fast forward 6 weeks or so.. Elijah and I are outside enjoying the summer day and checking out all of the different wildflowers growing around the property. One of the reasons I choose not to mow most of the yards is because we love all of the fun flowers and plants we can find growing everywhere and it makes for great opportunities to practice our plant identification. We were standing in a big patch of queen anne’s lace and Elijah says, “I think I know this one.. is it yarrow?” He’s familiar with yarrow as he has helped me gather that helpful herb on more than one occasion and he’s good at spotting its large white cluster of flowers. Queen Anne’s Lace has a similar cluster of white flowers atop its long stem.. I explained to him that this was a much different plant also known as the wild carrot and started to explain the plant’s long white taproot when he interrupted me to say, “The flower smells good enough to eat!” I reminded him of the tasty jelly I had brought home that was made from the very same flowers he was sniffing.. and Elijah decided that we were going to make the same jelly right here at home!
The answer was as easy as making tea. Or what would be more properly called an infusion. We cleaned our flower heads and rinsed all of the bugs and things off and packed them down into a large glass bowl. Over top we poured boiling water until the flowers were covered, then we put a lid on the bowl and let it sit on the counter overnight. When we were ready to make our jelly, we strained out the flowers and there we had our “juice”. After that is was as simple as following the most basic jelly recipe. And the recipe can be used to make jelly with any edible wildflower you’d like to try! Or maybe with other herbs too.. I’m thinking about using it to make a peppermint jelly. Not sure what I would use peppermint jelly for, but it sounds like fun to try! 🙂
The most basic jelly recipe ever;
For every 2 1/2 cups of infusion (flower juice), add juice of one lemon and 1 package of pectin. Bring to boil, add 3 cups sugar and boil hard 1 minute. Place piece of flower in jar for identification (you may opt not to do this). Pour in jelly and seal. If you use honey instead of sugar, add 1 1/2 cups honey at the end because honey loses its nutritional value when boiled. And that’s it. The only limit is your imagination!