Lilac Jelly: Lilac Blossoms And Vanilla Bean
Lilac Jelly made with Lilac Blossoms and Vanilla Bean, can you say amazing!
When the lilacs are in full bloom in my area, not only do I use them to make jelly. But I love keep a bouquet of them on my kitchen table. They have such a beautiful long lasting scent, I can smell them through out my entire house.
Did you know that you can just pick those little flowers and eat them, right off the bush? They may have a bit of a bitter and sweet taste all in one. Add them to salads with a sweet balsamic vinegar for your dressing.
You can also bake with them. There are many recipes out there using lilac flowers in cakes and muffins.
You can also make a lilac syrup for pancakes to drinks.
I like to make a lilac flower tea and freeze it. To keep on hand for making handcrafted soap, skin care, food and drink.
Lilac tea also works great for bug bites among other skin issues, making sure your not allergic to them. There are so many ways a person can use lilac flowers.
Vanilla Bean or Vanilla Bean Paste
For now, let’s get back to the Lilac Jelly with the vanilla bean.
I wanted to try something a little different this year.
Although I love my original flower jelly recipe. It tastes a lot like tutti-fruity to me with a lemony taste, but that’s just my taste buds. Some say lilac jelly can have a bit of a bitterness to it, you’ll have to give it a try and decide for your self.
I took the original flower recipe and added a 1/2 a cup more of water to the flower tea, and used vanilla bean paste. I didn’t have a vanilla bean on hand and didn’t want to run to the store a buy one. So I gave the paste a try, and let me tell you, the finished jelly tastes amazing! If you’d like to give Vanilla Bean Paste a try. One teaspoon full is all you need. It equals the amount of one vanilla bean.
One added note, vanilla has gone way up in price. One vanilla bean will cost you about $10:00. I purchased my Vanilla Bean Paste less than a year ago, and it was $5.99 for a 4 oz bottle. I’ve now seen it up $28.00 or more for a small bottle. Just do a little research for the best buy.
If your a beginner, you may want to just go with a basic lilac jelly recipe. To make sure you even like floral jelly, it does acquire a taste.
The first thing your going to do, is make your lilac tea. Which ever flower or herb recipe you choose. You’ll need to make a tea first. Pick the flowers early in the morning, and when they have just opened up. Avoid picking any brown or damaged petals. Take them inside, rinse them off in cold water and pat dry. It’s very important, when removing the blossoms. That you remove all the little green stems and any leave, any green can give your jelly a bitter taste.
Take 2 cups of packed flowers, no leaves or stems and place them in a pot. Now add 2 1/2 cups of water and cook over medium-high heat for a few minutes. Remove from heat and let the petals steep for up to 4 hours.
Once your lilac tea is done, you’ll then strain it. There are a couple of ways you can do this. Use a Jelly Bag for straining, I use them, and they work great! Or a folded up cheese cloth or coffee filter, in a cone shaped strainer works great. Once it’s strained, make sure and squeeze out as much of the tea as you can.
After you’ve strained your floral tea, your ready to make your jelly. If your not able to use it right away, store in the refrigerator up to two days. Or freeze it until your ready to make your jelly.
What You Need For Lilac Jelly
- 2 1/2 cups of Flower Tea
- 1 Vanilla Bean or 1 tsp. Vanilla Bean Paste
- Liquid Pectin 1 pouch (Certo Liquid Pectin is my favorite)
- 4 cups of Sugar
- 3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
- Candy Thermometer
- Hot Water Bath Canner
- 4 oz or 8 oz Jelly Jars and Lids
- Kitchen wash cloths and towels
- Vinegar and paper towels
Fill your Hot water Bath Canner with your clean jars. Then fill up your canner with hot water and add in your jars. I like to get my canner going first, so my jars have boiled for at least 10 minutes or more so they are very hot and sanitized. Also place the flat rims in a small pot of water on medium-low heat. So they will be ready to cap your jars. Some say you don’t need to heat your lids for them to seal. I have found that my jars seal better when I’ve heated my flat lids.
Measure out the lilac tea, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla bean or vanilla bean paste into a pot. Bring to a hard boil at (220 degrees Fahrenheit) this will take a little bit to reach the 220 degree mark. When it’s reached the temp add in the, 1-three ounce liquid pouch (Certo brand Pectin). Cook the jelly for 2 minutes. Then ladle it into your hot sterilized jars, wipe down your rims with a clean cloth. I also like to wipe down the jar rims with a little white vinegar on a paper towel. This gets any stickiness so your flat lids will have a better seal. Place your hot sterilized flat lids onto the jars and then the bands. Place them into a Hot Water Bath Canner and boil for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes turn off the burner, and let the jars sit for 5 minutes.
When the 5 minutes are up, take your jars out. Place them on a kitchen towel and gently cover them with a towel. Now for the fun part, waiting for that ping! I love the sound of my canning jars, pinging. It means they’ve sealed and you’ve done everything right, a job well done.
Let your jelly rest for 12-24 hours, after that check the flat lids to make sure they’ve all sealed.
Wash the jars
Before putting up your jelly. Remove the rims and gently wash the jars to remove any stickiness from the canning process. Dry the jars and label them with the M/D/Y and the name of the jelly.
Just a Note
If one of your jars didn’t seal, no worries. Just place it the fridge and use it like you would any other jelly.
Have fun with your floral jellies, there’s so much you can do with them besides spreading it on a slice a bread. Try it with thumbprint cookies, cakes pancakes, muffins or even inside doughnuts! A little imagination and experimentation, may just surprise you with a new treat.
How do I sign up to receive your online newsletter? A little about me: I am 74 years, married, a mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. A Master Gardener (2005) and an Ohio Certified Naturalist (2013). Have been in the Boy Scouts of America over 40-yrs, a volunteer with the American Red Cross over 25-yrs, plus a blood donor. I reached my 25-gal donation mark this month. I have always loved the outdoors, cooking for my family/friends, and mainly helping others. One of my most requested talks is: Edible Wild Plants and Garden Grazing a.k.a. Having your flowers and eating them too. Plus foraging in the wild and your backyard. It is an honor to teach, especially the younger groups, how to can their foods, preserve, dry, etc., etc.., etc..
My children (all grown) love to tell people, “We use to ask, ‘What’s for supper?” adding, “Now, we ask, “What did we just eat?” Love them to the moon and back.
Looking forward to reading more of your work. One should never stop learning.
Kathleen Ridenour, Thank you so much for the kind comments! What a wonderful and healthy life style you have lived, keep up the good work. It’s so very important to teach the younger generations food foraging and preserving, as it has become a lost art for sure. Thank you so much for your interest in my blog. As of right now, I’m working on a news letter. I’m not sure when I’ll have it ready for release. Until then, I wish you the very best in your teachings, and your so right “One should never stop learning”. Have a wonderful day!