Last month, the little ones helped me make some lilac jelly. Our farm has been overrun with lilacs. We are so overrun with them, in fact, that we will be dividing them and selling the potted lilacs to farm visitors next year. That way, everyone can own a little piece of the farm (and make their own jelly, too!).
It was such a lovely day. We threw open the kitchen windows while we worked. The scent of lilac blossoms permeated the air. It doesn’t last long enough, lilac season. This country jelly is a clever way to preserve it, in edible form, until next year.
I began by filling a 5 gallon bucket with lilac panicles, early in the morning, before the precious oils evaporated. it is really important to get them early for the best results. Remember to shake off the little critters.
We plucked the individual blossoms from the panicles. You don’t want the green bits because they can make your finished jelly bitter. And when we made the infusion, we were surprised to see that the pretty pale purple blossoms produced a pale green liquid.
William kept us entertained by catching butterflies and moths, bringing them to the window to show us.
If you aren’t familiar with making jelly, you just need to remember these things:
- Your maximum batch size should not exceed 10 c. of infusion. If, like me, you need to make much more than that, make your infusion in one batch and divide it into smaller batches before adding pectin and sugar.
- I recommend ALWAYS using low-sugar/no-sugar pectin from real fruit. This allows you to adjust your sugar content to your taste. For this recipe, I cut the original amount of sugar by half. My recipe below is exactly what I used.
- Always add pectin to the infusion and boil BEFORE adding sugar.
10 c. lilac infusion
1 c. lemon juice
1 jar powdered pectin (low-sugar/no-sugar)
10 c. organic sugar
In a large roasting pan or steam pan liner, on top of the stove, pour lemon juice into the infusion. Slowly stir in pectin with a whisk to prevent lumps. Bring to a hard boil (one that can’t be stirred down). Add sugar all at once, bring back to the boil and cook for about 1 minute. Turn the heat off and pour jelly into prepared jars. Wipe the rims clean, place lids. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes (or as long as needed for your altitude). Viola! That’s it.
I’m not bothered by foam, but you can disperse it with a pat of butter or oil during the second boil. Skim off any remaining foam. It is still perfectly good to eat. It just isn’t as pretty to some folk.
ETA: I TOTALLY forgot to give instructions for the infusion! Mea culpa. You want:
10 c. lilac blossoms
11 1/4 c. water
Bring to the boil, reduce to simmer. Simmer for 40 minutes, take off the heat and allow to steep overnight, covered. In the morning, strain the blossoms and press all of the liquid out. Measure the liquid. If you need to, add some water to ensure that you have 10 c. of infusion.
If you missed lilac season, you can purchase some of ours here.