Friday, June 21, 2013

Wildcrafting - Honeysuckle Jelly

As Maid Elizabeth and I embark on our daily morning hike we trudge up the hills and through the vales, pausing frequently to check on some natural edible or another.  The warmer weather has brought the bounty of June upon us, ladening the bushes in the lane with Dog Roses (Rosa Canina) and Honeysuckle.  Noticing that the Honeysuckle was heavy on the branch, the children (along with a friend) spent a bit of time harvesting the pink/orange flowers and carried them home for me to transform into jelly.

Bringing in the harvest
A few days were required to transform the delicate flowers into a sublime preserve, but the effort was small and the yield large.  Oh, the end result was divine - a sweet, almost honey tasting spread, perfect for scones, toast, even sandwiches.

I was amazed at how much jelly we made with just a few flowers.  The yield was really quite impressive!  I do think that we will reduce the amount of sugar we use with our next batch, but, other than that, the jelly was perfect!  If you have an abundance of wild honeysuckle, I encourage you to pick some today and enjoy the fresh taste of June all winter long.

Honeysuckle Jelly

8 C liquid
2 tsp. lemon juice
3 boxes of pectin (or 1 C bulk - each package contains 1/3 C of pectin)
10 C sugar

To make the liquid:  Pick blossom that are opened, but not old.  You'll need at least 2 to 3 quarts of flowers (I used 2 1/2 liters).  Pick through the flowers, removing leaves and stems and rinse.  In a large pot, place the flowers and enough water to cover well.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat and cool.  Pour the flowers and water into a gallon jar and refrigerate for at least 24 hours - two days is even better.

To make the jelly:  Strain the flowers from the water (I used a colander).  Rinse the gallon jar and strain the water through 4 layers of cheese cloth into the clean jar (this removes the impurities and results in a lovely, clear jelly).

Measure the honeysuckle liquid into a large pot, add the lemon juice and pectin.  Stir well.  Bring to a full, rolling boil, stirring constantly.  Stir in the sugar.  Continue to stir, return to a rolling boil and boil for 1 minute (timed from the beginning of the rolling boil).

Remove the pot from the heat.  Skim foam from the top and ladle jelly into jars.  Wipe threads and rims carefully, then top with prepared lids and rings.  Process in a water bath for 10 minutes.

*I increased my batch by 1/2 and it yielded 9 1/2 pints, with a little liquid left-over.

Measuring the flowers

Into the pot with enough water to cover

What a color change after the flowers have been boiled!

Ready to go into the refrigerator

After 2 days of refrigeration, they are ready to be strained

And strained again through cheesecloth

Mixing in the lemon juice and pectin

Sterilizing the jars....

And the lids

Adding the sugar

Continuing to stir while bringing to a boil

Skimming the foam off the top

Filling jars with hot honeysuckle jelly

Oh, so beautiful!


  1. Thank you for posting the recipe. This looks like a Must-Try !

  2. Enola,

    Your honeysuckle jelly looks amazing, I wish I had honeysuckle flowers here. I would try this recipe.

  3. Our honeysuckle are past being useable (they blossomed about a month ago), but I will definitely want to try this next year. What a beautiful jelly. And I am sure it simply smells divine.

  4. Gorgeous! Does the recipe scale down?

  5. Sandy- you can make a syrup of other flowers (white or red clover and dandelions) which tastes a lot like honey and is a good way to kill the weeds out of your yard ;) My nose went watery when I tried dandelion (I wasn't sure if it was that or other pollens in the air) so this year I will try clover, since I know I tolerate that well. I too miss living where there is honeysuckle!

    We seem to have a lot of wild roses in our area which are already swelling into hips. Enola, are you going to make those into rose hip preserves? I plan to try that this year.

  6. Thank you so much, Enola, for the recipe. We'll have to try it. Our 14 y.o. daughter made violet jelly this spring from the violets that grow everywhere. It was very good but a hard taste to describe; kind of "florally." One batch didn't set so we use it as pancake syrup! The jars setting in a sun-filled window look like jewels.
    Blessings to you and yours from the East Coast, USA.