Lilacs. Lilacs everywhere. Ahhh, Spring lilacs. Yes, it’s true, the smell of dreamy lilacs in the breeze just doesn't last long enough. So that’s why I love to preserve its floral essence in a delectable, wiggly jiggly, spreadable, sticky sweet jelly. It’s perfect smeared atop some crunchy buttery toast or biscuits, but I like it on warm lilac muffins with steamy black tea.
Syringa (Lilac) is a deciduous flowering woody plants from the olive family Oleaceae, and native to the woodlands of southeastern Europe to eastern Asia, and now widely cultivated. The usual flower color is a shade of purple or lilac, but white, pale yellow and pink, and even a dark burgundy color are also found. I've heard the white lilacs are sweeter but I don't have any outside my kitchen....so, I'll happily take the purple.
Lilacs are often considered to symbolize love. The story of lilac, according to Greek mythology, begins with a beautiful nymph named Syringa (lilac’s botanical name). Captivated by her beauty, Pan, the god of the forests and fields, chased Syringa through the forest. Frightened by Pan’s affections, Syringa escaped him by turning herself into an aromatic bush – the flower we now refer to as lilac.
And the flower that is all for the love of lilac jelly!
Lilac Jelly makes 8- 4 oz jars
You will need:
- 2 cups packed lilac blossoms and buds
- 2 1/2 cups spring water
- 3 cups organic lilac infused sugar
- The juice from 1 puckery lemon
- Box of powdered pectin
- Half of a vanilla bean
- A couple dried hibiscus flowers to enhance color
- Could toss in a few other blossoms (rose petals, dandelion flowers, honeysuckle) but it does alter the lilac taste
- Substitute lemon juice for lime juice. Or even add some of the rind! Mmmmm
- You can use any kind of sugar you like! I can't tell you how it will turn out as I've only use plain sugar in my jelly recipes. But I bet it'd work just fine.
- "I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it." ~Alice Walker
So, two hours into your love for lilac jelly, you've got a bowl of purple beauty cleaned and ready for the next step. Stuff and pack two cups of blossom into a thick mason jar, boil the water and pour it over the lilacs. Here is where I like to add a split vanilla bean or a few hibiscus blossoms and cover it with lid. Let it sit until the next day and then your lilac infusion is ready.
- Admire the magic dance and lady lilac performance.
- They do flitter about hour after hour.
- They are so very pleased to show off for you...if you watch.
Ok, so one wouldn't think it could get any better than half a days daylight worth of that above. Right. But it does because last week I picked a handful of the first lilac blossoms and buds and dumped them into my sugar that I planned to use for this jelly. As it's all for the love of lilac jelly!
You can pour your lilac sugar through a sieve and shake out the lilac blossoms. You may have to finger through it and make sure it's pretty clean, but if a blossom slips into your finished jelly...I'd probably consider it the lucky jar! You'll need 3 cups of sugar so add more if you need to. Then you'll need to stain your infusion through a sieve and then through a coffee filter. You should have about a 2 1/4 cups of beauteous smelling lilac glowing pinkness! And it gets better.
- Place your strained lilac infusion, fresh lemon juice and pectin in a large pot. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a rolling boil.
- Add all of the sugar at once, and stir to dissolve. Bring the jelly back up to a rolling boil for 1 minute. Note, most recipes call for 4 cups of sugar but I find that 3 cups is plenty sweet/tart and it jells just fine. 4 cup is just to dang sweet.
- Remove the jelly from the heat, and skim as much of the foam from the top as possible (I got a lot of foam and it tends to set quickly so you'll want to do this process fairly fast) and ladle into hot, sterilized jars.
- I had toast ready to use up what was left in the pan...because it's just so good. Or I guess you could just lick the spoon.
- Clean the rims of the jars and screw down the lids to just tight.
- Process in a water bath for 10 minutes. I had to process mine 20 minutes due to my elevation. I think all pectin boxes give directions for canning jams and jellies. I'd recommend following that.
This is just a dreamy sweet treat. Pinky purpley perfect. It will wiggle on your spoon all the way to your muffin! Ok, ok, ok, I'll share my finger lickin lemony lilac muffin recipe. Because you have to have these together.
Lilac Muffins: With lemony curls and lilac jelly
Oh my gosh yummy! Pretty. Delicious. Muffins.
You will need:
- 1 stick of softened butter
- 1/2 cup of organic sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 cups amaranth flour
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup lilac blossoms and buds
- 2 tsp. curly lemony zest
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse your lilac blossoms and again make sure to remove all green parts of the flower. Blend butter, sugar, egg and milk together. In a separate bowl, mix amaranth flour, baking powder and salt. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Fold in lilac blossoms and lemon zest.
Grease or lined muffin pan and fill cups 2/3 full. Bake for approximately 20 minutes.
After your muffins are cool, they need butter, lilac jelly and a drooling mouth!
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Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, Morgan Botanicals.
Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.
Jessica Morgan, Herbalist