No, I am not off the grid all the way but one day I will be, so along the way I am also learning what I can make with this wild land I live on. Some of the simple things that people take for granted and just kill is actually food.
Take honeysuckles for an example, I am sure most remember being a child and taught to nip the little flowers end off and suck out the sweet nectar, I do! My sister and I would stand and empty a vine of those yummy blooms.
But I would have never thought about making jelly from those tiny delicious flowers! After a search online for something else I seen a recipe and I thought "A lot of work but I will try this once."
I must say its a lot of work cleaning these little flowers but well worth it. The only way to explain the taste is to cut the little green tips off each flower and that bit of sticky left behind on your fingers is the taste. Pure heaven! You will lick the spoons and pots to make sure you get every single bit of this jelly. Today will be my third batch, that is how good it is.
What you`ll Need To Make Honeysuckle Jelly :
2 cups of honeysuckle infused water (how to make below)
1/4 cup of lemon juice
4 cups of sugar
1 - 3 ounce package of liquid fruit pectin
Now Lets get started - Step One :
First and most important is to make sure the area you pick the flowers at does not get treated with pesticides, honeysuckles are wide spread and many. You can find them on just about any fence line.
Picking the yellow/ orange-ish ones are the sweetest so that is what you want.
You will need 2 cups.
Once you get home give them a quick splash in water, you can skip this part if you want, I have never seen bugs on a honeysuckle, and place on a clean towel.
Now comes the part that is hardest for me, cleaning the little green tips off, after I get started it does go fast, but I take a paid of scissors and I clip them, and toss each cleaned one over into my measuring cup.
Once you get 2 cups of firmly packed cleaned honeysuckle blooms put 2 cups of water onto boil.
In a quart fruit jar add the boiling water, then the honeysuckle blooms, stir allowing the honeysuckle to wilt into the water. Cover with a lid and allow them to seep out all that yummy goodness. Every now and then shake the jar. Refrigerate overnight.
Step Two :
First, do not get freaked out by the green color, for some reason, I do not know, the honeysuckle infusion turns green. But not for long, when you add the lemon juice it turns back to a golden yellow.
Using cheesecloth strain the blooms from the liquid, measure out 2 cups of liquid and set aside. Discard blooms.
Sterilize jars and set aside. Put new lids with rings and put them into a boiling water bath and keep hot.
Step three - Making Honeysuckle Jelly :
In a large sauce pan put 2 cups of the honeysuckle infused water and 1/4 cup lemon juice bring to a boil, Add 4 cups of sugar and bring back to a boil, one that cannot be stirred down. Add 1 - 3 ounce package of Ball liquid fruit pectin and bring back to a hard boil that cannot be stirred down and cook for one minute.
Ladle into sterilized jars, cover with prepared lids.
Process for 5 minutes in a boiling bath water.
Makes 4 half pints and 1 four ounce jar.
By Andria Perry
Photos by Andria Perry