Honeysuckle jelly, a sweet summer treat
You’ll know summer is on the way when the thick, aromatic perfume of the honeysuckles embrace you, sending a stream of warm memories rushing through your mind and sending a joyous smile to your face. The nostalgia of bright yellow honeysuckle vining around old fence posts, causing one to stop and take a deep breath in and exhale nature’s perfect moment. The flowers invite the kids to pull the stamen out and taste the sweet sugary nectar (and Chris is perfecting an amazing honeysuckle bourbon you’ll want to check back for). Some homesteaders have even turned to the flowers for medicinal purposes. Honeysuckle flowers do not last long- like all good things. Honeysuckle flowers can be used to infuse water and make a delicious jelly to enjoy long after the blooms have withered for the summer. It is like a jar of sunshine. If you’ve missed out on these short-lived flowers, make sure to try this recipe when the weather has started to warm up from the winter and the fragrance invites you to share in it’s delight.
Honeysuckle Jelly Recipe
Here’s what you need:
2 cups of yellow honeysuckle flowers, stamen intact (soaked & gently rinsed from bugs)
2 ½ cups of boiling water
Juice of half a lemon to whole lemon ( if lemon is small)
1 box of Sure-Jell pectin
3 ½ cups sugar
Here’s what you do:
Pinch the little green end off of each flower stamen. Carefully pull out just a little to allow the nectar the ability to be released. Do not pull the stamen all of the way out.
Put each flower into a large mason jar or other glass container with a non-plastic lid. Discard the green tips.
This will take some time and goes faster with extra hands. Pour 2 ½ cups of boiling water over the flowers and cover the jar with the lid.
Allow the flowers to infuse the water for at least 4 hours- or until cool. I have also allowed this infusion to set overnight. Pour the infused water into a large heavy-duty pot through a sieve. You can compost the flowers.
The yellow water that you started with should be green. Don’t worry, it will be the color of sunshine again. The water has an earthy scent at first.
Squeeze the lemon into the infused water and the yellow color will return.
Add the box of pectin and mix well. Stir over high heat until the mixture reaches a heavy boil. Boil for one minute. Add the 3 ½ cups of sugar at once. Keep stirring and boil for another minute. This will get really foamy and hot. Do not step away.
Have your canning jars ready to go from sterilized jars that were boiled and then simmered for 10-15 minutes and have clean rings and lids ready. Remove jelly mixture from heat and immediately pour into jars, hand-tighten rings over lids.
You can tip the jars over for 15 minutes and back upright to seal- or you can use a hot water bath for five minutes. You will know the jars have sealed when they “ping” and the center bump has flattened. Allow to sit undisturbed for 24 hours.