As you venture into the world of herbalism, and the number of wild edible plants opens up to you, think a bit beyond the infusions, tinctures, and medicinal preparations and consider new ways to eat your weeds!
One delicious way to explore edible herbs is by making a simple wildflower jelly with them. Just think of the possibilities: a basil jelly on a tomato and chevre toast, mint jelly to accompany a nice dish of lamb, honeysuckle and mimosa jelly on a buttered English muffin… the ideas just go on and on! Small jars of herbal jelly also make great gifts, especially as a way to enjoy a taste of spring and summer during the winter.
The following recipe assumes a familiarity with water bath canning. Don’t be intimidated if you have not canned before; it is not as hard as it seems. If you want a good resource for getting started, try the Ball Blue Book.
Choosing your Wildflowers and Herbs
So, go out into your yard and garden and see what you can find to play with. Going out at midday is best, when the dew has dried but before the sun is too hot. If you are foraging, only gather plants that you can confidently identify, using a guide to help you, if necessary.
There are so many edible herbs and flowers!
- Red Clover
- Basil (or just Basil flowers)
- Kudzu flowers
- Mimosa flowers
- Queen Anne’s Lace
- Lemon Balm
- Bee Balm
- Citrus Flowers
Making your Wildflower Jelly
Gather about two cups of edible flowers and herbs. This part is where you get to let your creativity shine – use whatever you want to use, and in whatever combination you choose. A jelly made from rose petals, citrus blossoms, and passionflowers is lovely. Hibiscus, red clover, and bee balm would be delicious, too. The choice is all yours!
Bring your flowers and herbs inside and give them a rinse and roughly chop them. You should have at least a cup of roughly chopped herbs when you are done, and no more than two.
Prepare your water bath canner and sanitize your jars and lids.
Put four cups of water in a pot and bring it to a boil. Remove it from heat and throw in your cup of chopped herbs and flowers. Give it all a stir, close the lid, and let your tea steep for at least an hour.
Strain the liquid into a bowl. I suggest that you use cheesecloth, a clean towel, or a coffee filter while straining to ensure that all the hidden bugs and tiny bits stay out of your liquid.
Now, the fun part begins!
2 ¾ cups of your herbal infusion
¼ cup of lemon juice (about one medium lemon)
3 ½ cups of sugar
1 packet of pectin
- Pour the infusion into a medium-sized cooking pot, and turn it up to a medium-high heat.
- Add the lemon juice and the pectin to the pot. Stir the mixture well.
- Add the sugar and stir constantly until it returns to a rolling boil. Let it boil for one minute, and remove from heat.
- Carefully pour or ladle the hot jelly into the jars.
- Wipe the rim with a clean cloth, and top each one with a sterilized lid.
- Process your jars as you wish. I prefer to use a hot water canning bath, using the instructions in the pectin box.
Let the jars rest for 24 hours before you pick them up or move them around. After that, it’s open game on flower jelly! Enjoy!
For quick and easy, and outrageously delicious, jam recipes, take a look at Marlene’s collection of healthy herbal jams!
This post was written by Amber Shehan, the head pixie at Pixiespocket.com. She’s been eating things out of her yard and brewing them up as teas and tinctures for over 15 years now.