Monday, July 16, 2012

Lavender Dream Jelly

~ Spanish lavender ~
It's getting close to harvest time out in Bamfield. Now, I'm not talking about harvesting much out of my veggie beds - I harvest mainly wild things - which seem to do better out here.

I have already done one 'large' harvest off my lavender plants a few weeks ago & was just waiting for the next batch of flowers to mature a bit more when I somehow stumbled across chatter about lavender jelly...

That got my inner crafty goddess stirring!! The picture on the right is of my Spanish lavender - about a dozen cuttings taken off one plant have now started to become giants of their own! The Spanish lavender seems to do better out in the gardens & yard than my more traditional English lavender which prefers living up in deck pots. Drier conditions suit the English lavender better out here.

So I stumbled across a recipe - that in my own opinion & hands on experience - needs a bit of tweaking (I've put it out to the universe to help me here as I have a shortening supply of lavender & have other plans with most of my remaining blossoms).

~ steeped lavender blossoms ~
The basic idea is to take your fresh or dried lavender, (1 1/2 cups fresh or 1/2 cup dried) & steep it for 20 minutes to overnight in about 3 1/2 cups of boiling water.

I didn't take a picture of just the resulting liquid - the colour is rather disheartening (a purplish-gray).

Then you put the liquid into your jelly pot, whisk in the pectin (I used 1 box of certo light) & about 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice. The lemon juice (or some recipes call for 2 Tbsp of white wine vinegar - sorry, mine is all turned into herbal vinegars at the moment) reacts with the steeped liquid & magically changes the colour - was so uplifting to see this transformation in the pot (and a huge relief!).

Boil the liquid, pour in 4 cups of sugar - return to a hard rolling boil & continue to boil for either 1 minute or 2 minutes for a soft jelly or 4 minutes for a hard jelly (again - I was going off several different recipes).

~ lavender jelly ~
The problem I encountered was that the pectin didn't seem to want to cook down or something - I've never had this happen to me before, but the top of the hard boiling jelly was already starting to jell!!

I barely managed to pour it all into the hot jars before it was not pourable & the clarity is something I've not encountered before either. Looks almost like a sparkling jelly - but I know it's not.

The flavour is amazing - might be a little strong for first time tasters and the consistency is a very soft jelly - not runny, but still, kind of strange.

I'm on the hunt for local lavender farms so that I can go get some more (fresh or dried, I'm not picky at this point) because I dearly want to perfect this recipe & have a stunning clear jelly that is just a bit more firm. I may have used the wrong pectin or not enough water/sugar. I'm just hoping that this recipe in the making doesn't take as long for me to perfect as my salal jelly recipe (that one took at least 4 years!!)

But for now, I'm dreaming of fluffy scones with this spread on top - maybe a picnic blanket out in the gardens & a cup of something with ice (bourbon is my first choice, but that might not go so well with the scone....)

1 comment:

A New Moo said...

How delicious! I just made some honeysuckle jelly nearly the same way. Thank you for this post, and the recipe!