You will need to do some planning ahead in order to make redbud and lilac flower jelly. You have to use the flowers before they start falling from the branches and have enough left to can. Redbud and lilac jelly are very easy to make though and should definitely be on your list to try for the springtime!
Supplies For Making Floral Jelly
- Redbuds or Lilac Flowers
- Canning Jars
- Fresh Canning Lids
- Boiling Water
- Lemon Juice
- Unflavored Pectin (This is what makes jelly JELLY!)
The process is simple really. Pick the flower buds from the branches when they are in bloom and simply place them into a jar. Rinse once to get rid of dirt, but do this quickly and only once as the color leaches quickly!
Poor boiling water over the buds in the canning jar. Let the can sit for 24 hours. (PS - USE a canning jar as they are made for super high heat!)
Notice how the color starts leaching almost immediately out of the buds. It is kind of amazing!
See that purple can hiding back there behind the redbuds? Those would be lilac buds. While out gathering redbuds, there were also lilacs in bloom and we thought we would go ahead and make both. The process is the same -- just different flowers!
Surprisingly, the variety of lilacs is almost the exact same color as the redbuds. Shocking how it went from bright and deep purple to saturated pink!
Moving on in the process though....
Once the buds have sat for 24 hours, simply strain the liquids into a fresh jar, squeezing the buds to get out all the color and flavor you can! Isn't it a beautiful color?
Once you have your flavored floral liquids, you will choose between an instant pectin and a classic pectin. You are supposed to be able to stir the instant pectin and sugar in, stir for 3 minutes then chill, but it did not work that well for us. We had much better luck with the classic pectin. The process is still very simple. The classic just needs heating.
For classic pectin, add your liquid to a pot, add sugar, pectin (it looks like the powder in Jello!) and enough water to get up to the ratios listed on the pectin packaging. Also add in 1 T of lemon juice, which reacts with the flower extract to make the pink color. Heat to a boil, constantly stirring, turn heat down and stir for 3 minutes. Decant into a jar, chill and voila! You are done!
We left the recipe a bit vague because:
#1 Each brand a pectin is slightly different. Check the back of the packaging for exact measurements.
#2 You will want to add slightly more pectin than normal since you are dealing with floral liquid instead of fruit (which has naturally occurring pectin).
#3 We used 3.5 Tablespoons per ball jar to get these to set, using the hot method, not the instant.
It honestly is just as simple as making jello, so if you have mastered jello, you can master any floral jellies! (...and pst....don't tell the canning aficionados but these are SOOOOOOOOOOOO much easier than fruit jellies where you have to pit, clean, hull and smash the fruit! Go flowers!)