Learn how to make lilac jelly, a fragrant delicacy from lilacs when they bloom. Making lilac jelly is a wonderful way to preserve these fragrant edible flowers for a little longer.
Savor the Essence of Lilac in a small jar and unlock the delightful floral notes of homemade Lilac Jelly.
Beautiful fresh lilac flowers fill the air in May with their delightful scent. They come in different colors, ranging from pale pink to dark purple. The fragrance of lilacs has a calming effect and helps to reduce stress. While people decorate their gardens or interiors and use them in beauty products like perfumes, oils, or toners, they rarely consider them edible.
Are lilacs edible?
Beautiful Lilacs are not only edible; they also possess medicinal benefits, ranging from soothing properties to anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Additionally, they add unique and delightful flavors to dishes and juices to your Instagram feed. I love to use lilac petals to make tea, syrup, or desserts with a distinct floral taste.
Making jelly is a great way to enjoy the taste of lilacs throughout the year, extending beyond their short blooming period. Whether spread on toast or used in baking, lilac jelly allows me to savor the goodness of lilacs even when they are not in season.
What is lilac jelly?
Lilac jelly is made using lilac flowers harvested in full bloom. The process involves steeping the flowers in water and combining them with pectin and sweetener to create a sweet, spreadable purple jelly. As a result, lilac jelly captures the essence of lilacs, offering a distinct and delicate floral flavor. Similarly, you can also make violet or dandelion bright yellow jelly.
The colored jelly is delicious and should be the same for all lilac colors; however, the color of the finished jelly will differ if you use light or dark purple or even white lilac flowers.
Ingredients to make lilac jelly
Lilac blossoms – Harvesting lilacs
It is a short window when lilac blooms. Once you ensure you harvest Lilacs, select a large lilac tree free of pesky chemicals. The safest way is to use lilac bushes that grow in your garden. I usually wait for a sunny day when the flowers are fully open and not wet from the rain. You will need one lilac blossom to make one lilac jelly jar (8 oz).
I chose honey instead of sugar for my lilac flower jelly, but you can add sugar or brown sugar. Remember that different sugars can affect the jelly’s color, flavor, and consistency. For instance, if you use raw cane sugar with molasses, the jelly might turn brown instead of lilac. I decided to use raw honey in this recipe because it has nutritional benefits and antibacterial properties, and it worked out wonderfully.
This easy lilac jelly recipe use low sugar pectin in powder form. However, you can also use liquid pectin, universal pectin or agar as alternative thickening agents. Keep in mind, that if you choose to use a different thickening agent, you will need to adjust the amount of sweetener required accordingly.
Lemon is important for making the jelly set and also to change the color. It also helps prevent bacteria from growing. I enjoy the perfect balance of sweetness and sourness in the jelly, but some people prefer it sweeter. So, I recommend tasting it and adjusting the amount of honey and lemon accordingly. If you don’t have lemon, you can use citric acid instead. Just use ¼ teaspoon of citric acid for every tablespoon of lemon juice needed.
How to make lilac jelly from lovely lilac blossoms
First step: Preparing lilac edible flowers.
Once you collect your lilac, instead of washing the lilac flowers, look closely at them and gently remove any bugs or dirt manually (They get sterilized by boiling water and the canning process). The pollen found on the flowers carries the fragrance and flavor you want to preserve, so it’s important not to wash it away. A helpful tip is to place the flowers outside for a little while, allowing any small bugs hiding in them to crawl away. After that, carefully remove the green stems as they make the jelly bitter.
Second step: Make lilac tea.
Place one cup of fresh lilac blossoms to make the tea in a medium size pot. Pour the boiling water over the lilacs, submerging all blossoms. Cover the mixture and allow the lilac tea to infuse for 10 minutes or until it turns turquoise. Longer brews will result in darker colors. Strain it. I kept some flowers in, but it is mainly for decoration. If you want your jelly to last, strain the lilac.
Alternatively, use pre-boiled water (room temperature) and infuse the flowers overnight It will also result in a potent infusion that you can use to make jelly.
Third step: Make lilac jelly.
Place two cups of lilac tea into a saucepan, add pectin, and let it hard boil for 1 minute. This boiling step activates the powdered pectin and helps it work its magic. Then, reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring until the pectin dissolves completely.
Add some lemon juice and keep stirring as the beautiful, vibrant color of the jelly appears. However, the mixture will still be a bit runny at this point. Let it simmer for another 5 minutes. Then, remove it from the heat, cover it with a lid, and leave it undisturbed for about 10 minutes. During this time, skim off any foam or air bubbles that appear on the surface using a metal spoon.
Fourth step: Add sweetener and fill it.
Finally, add raw honey to the jelly mixture and mix it well. Carefully pour it into canning jars, leaving about a ¼ inch of space at the top. To ensure the jars seal well, take a clean damp cloth and wipe the rims of the jars clean. Now, it’s time to seal the jars. Put the lids on the jars and tighten the rings with your fingers until they feel snug. Allow the jelly to cool down and thicken as it cools to room temperature.
What Does Lilac Jelly Taste Like?
Lilac jelly has a unique taste that captures lilacs’ fresh and floral essence. It has a sweet and floral lilac flavor with a hint of tanginess from the added lemon juice. You can enjoy the refreshing and unique lilac scent when you eat lilac jelly. It’s like taking a bite of lilacs in a sweet and delightful form.
How Do You Use Lilac Jelly?
- Lilac jelly adds a touch of floral sweetness to your culinary creations.
- It makes a delicious and unique spread for your morning toast or freshly baked biscuits. Its floral flavor adds a delightful twist to your breakfast or snack.
- Pair lilac jelly with your favorite cheeses, such as soft cheeses like brie or creamy goat cheese. The sweet and floral notes complement the richness of the cheese, creating a delightful contrast of flavors.
- Drizzle lilac jelly over ice cream, yogurt, or panna cotta to add a touch of sweetness and a floral aroma. It can elevate simple desserts into something extraordinary.
- Use lilac jelly as a glaze for meats like pork or chicken. The floral sweetness adds a unique dimension to the savory flavors, creating a delicious balance.
- Incorporate lilac jelly into your baking recipes, such as cakes, cookies, or muffins. It adds floral notes and provides a moist texture.
How to store lilac jelly?
If you have a small batch of lilac jelly or have opened a jar, store it in the refrigerator. Transfer the jelly into a clean, airtight container or tightly cover the opened jar with its lid. The unopened jar can last up to 2 months. Once you open it, finish it within a week. If you made a larger batch or want to extend its shelf life up to one year, process the jelly in water bath canning.
Lilac jelly recipe – Water Bath Canning.
Use the jar lifter to place the jars into a water bath canner and bring it to a boil. Ensure the boiling water covers the canning jars; add water if needed.
Put the lid on the pot and bring the water to a boil again. Once it’s boiling hard, set a timer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, carefully remove the jars from the pot and place them on a towel-lined surface.
As the jars cool down, you might hear a “pop” sound, which means the lids have sealed properly. To check if the jars are sealed, press the center of the lid. The jar is sealed correctly if it stays down and doesn’t move. But if the lid pops up and down when pressed, the jar doesn’t seal properly. In that case, put it in the fridge and use the jelly within a few days.