We had a bumper crop of lilacs this year. My neighbor commented that his trees were so full of blossoms that he couldn't see the leaves. My small tree was loaded, too, so it seemed like a good year to experiment with eating some of them. One of my closest friends has made candied lilacs for her daughter's birthday for years by brushing the delicate blooms with egg white and and sprinkling them with superfine sugar, but I didn't think that would have as much appeal for my boys. They generally prefer volume to intricacy. Instead, I went hunting for a lilac jelly recipe and found one at 3 Foragers. You could also adapt this for use with any strong flavored/scented edible flowers. Just make sure that your lilacs or other blooms have not been sprayed with chemicals, and avoid high traffic areas. (Well traveled roadsides are not good for foraging.) See a list of edible flowers at About.com.Print
How to Make Lilac Jelly
Adapted from Lilac Recipe – Lilac Jelly at 3 Foragers
- 2 c. packed lilac blossoms, no leaves, no stems
- 2 1/2 c. boiling water
- 1/4 cup lemon juice – fresh is great if you have it
- 1/2 teaspoon butter
- 4 cups sugar
- One box Sure-jell powdered pectin
First, infuse the blossoms in the water. Place the blossoms in a heat resistant container and pour the boiling water over. Allow them to steep 8 hours or overnight.
When ready to can, sterilize four 8-ounce jars or eight 4 ounce jars, keep hot. Heat lids and rings in hot water, keep warm but not boiling. Fill water bath canner and bring to boil.
Strain the flowers out of the water. Squeeze dry. You should have 2 1/4 cup infused water. Add more water if needed. I allowed the strained liquid to sit in the refrigerator overnight, and then poured it off carefully. This allowed some of the particles to settle out of the infusion, resulting in a clearer jelly.
Place the flower infusion, lemon juice, butter and pectin in a large heavy bottom pot. Bring to a rolling boil. Add sugar all at once, return to boil. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Skim foam if needed. (The butter will help to reduce foaming.) Remove from heat.
Ladle jam into sterilized jars leaving 1/4″ headspace. Wipe rims clean and screw on the lids. Process for 10 minutes in water bath canner (add 1 minute for every 1,000 feet above sea level). Remove jars from canner and allow to rest until cool (I prefer overnight) before removing rings, wiping any drips and labeling for storage.
Makes around 4 half pint jars or 8 – 4 ounce jars.
I found the flavor to be very mild and lightly floral. It improved overnight. (I saved the skimmings and put them in the fridge). My youngest said, “I liked it. It was very yummy!” It's high in sugar, so this certainly falls into the “treat” category, but it was a fun experiment. My neighbor was shocked to find out that her lilacs were edible. 🙂
Don't forget to check out the Recipes page for more jam and jelly recipes.