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|
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.
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!|