Flower jelly is an easy way to capture the flavor of fresh edible blossoms for year-round enjoyment.
I make literally dozens of types of jam and jelly each year, but the flower jellies are always my daughter’s favorite. She just finds magic edible flowers, and I can’t blame her, they are pretty special.
While I’ll occasionally get a few complaints about harvesting gallons of blueberries for blueberry jam (or plain canned blueberries), I get nothing but smiles and excitement when it’s time to harvest a basket of flowers for floral jelly.
Skipping around in sandals and a unicorn dress, my little one is in heaven harvesting flowers for jelly. And there’s something about her excitement that makes me want to make batch after batch, sampling every blossom in the yard.
Edible Flower Safety
Please be sure that the blossoms you use for jelly are in fact edible flowers, as not all flowers are edible varieties. Only used unsprayed flowers (no herbicides of pesticides) that were harvested from clean locations (ie. not roadsides or drainage ditches).
Beyond that, it’s always possible to have a reaction to new foods, so please be careful when making big batches of things you’ve never tried before.
If foraging wild blossoms, always be 100% sure of your identification before trying any wild plant.
Many flowers are medicinal as well as edible, and while the quantities used in jelly generally aren’t considered a “therapeutic dose,” be sure that their actions don’t conflict with any health conditions you may have. For example, hawthorn blossoms are used in blood pressure preparations, and violet blossoms are mildly diuretic.
Do a bit of background research on the particular blossom you’ve chosen.
Basic Floral Jelly Recipe
The basic recipe for flower jellies is more or less the same, regardless of the type of flower used. It’s true that each flower has its own unique flavor, color, and character, but the basic process of making floral jelly doesn’t change.
Of course, you can always add other spices or seasonings, and perhaps fruit juice to the jelly, but the process is still the same no matter how you customize it.
Start by harvesting 3 to 4 cups of flower petals. For most flowers, you just want the petals rather than the whole flower structure. That means harvesting a bit more of flowers like dandelions, which are about half greens and stem when the blossoms are plucked.
Clean the flowers, removing any debris and anything that’s not a fragrant flower petal, and be sure you have roughly a quart of material. I generally just measure them into a quart mason jar, as it’s a convenient measure and since it’s heatproof, it works well with the next step which is making blossom tea.
Once you have about a quart of cleaned petals, pour boiling water over the top of the petals and allow them to infuse into a floral tea.
While the water is extracting flavor, it’s also extracting color and some flowers put out pretty surprising colors. Bee balm makes a bright red floral tea, as you’d expect.
Flowers like lilacs and violets, on the other hand, make turquoise tea even though they’re pink or purple. Don’t worry, that’s just the water extracting some of the antioxidants from the petals, which are similar to the color compounds in blueberries and blackberries.
When you add lemon juice (or just pectin because it contains citric acid), the color will change to a vibrant pink/purple.
Generally, most flower jelly recipes will add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice for every 4 cups of floral tea. Some add a bit more, like violet jelly, both to help with color and to bring out the natural flavors in the flowers. Violets taste a lot like spring berries and the extra lemon juice adds a tartness that accentuates their berry flavor.
For the most part, go with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice for a batch.
Strain the flowers and add the floral tea and lemon juice to a saucepan or jam pot. Bring the mixture to a boil and add a box of pectin.
For regular sure jell pectin, you’ll need to add a minimum of 4 cups of sugar because it’ll only jell with a 1:1 liquid to sugar ratio. Sure jell low sugar will gel with any amount of sugar, and you can use as little as 1/2 cup for a barely sweet jelly. I’d suggest using 1 to 2 cups for a lower-sugar recipe that’s still sweet enough.
(Sure jell low sugar can also be used with full sugar recipes, so that’s what I usually keep on my shelf because it works great regardless of the sugar you choose.)
Allow the flower tea, lemon juice, and pectin to boil for 1 full minute before adding any sugar.
This is important!
If you add the sugar from the start, the pectin will denature and the jelly will not set. The pectin must be incorporated and boiled for 1 minute before the sugar is added. This is one of the most common reasons for a jelly that just won’t set.
(The second most common reason is overcooking, such as boiling longer than 5 minutes, and the 3rd common failure mode is large batch size. Stick the recipe and don’t try to double, and don’t boil too long, for best results.)
Once the jelly has boiled for 1 minute, add the sugar and stir to incorporate. Allow the mixture to return to a boil and boil for 1 full minute before ladling into jelly jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
A standard “batch” will yield about 5 half-pints (8 oz) jars if you use full sugar (4 cups). The yield is slightly less if you use a lower amount of sugar.
Canning is optional, but if you choose to can flower jelly, process the jars in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.
If not canning, let the jars cool to room temperature on the counter and then store in the refrigerator (for up to a month) or freezer (for up to 6 months). If freezing, be sure to use straight-sided freezer-safe jars.
Floral Jelly Recipes
Using the basic floral jelly recipe above, you can make jelly out of almost any edible flower. Be sure to remove the sepals, stems, and any green parts as they can sometimes impart a bitter flavor to floral jellies.
Sometimes recipes other ingredients to bring out or compliment specific flavors within the flowers themselves. Nasturtium jelly (recipe coming soon), for example, is sometimes made with a few Sichuan peppercorns added to the infusion, as they have a similar spicy flavor.
Complimentary herbs, spices of flavorings can also help to round out a herbal jelly, as in this nasturtium apple mint jelly.
Whether you choose to follow the basic recipe or experiment on your own, the choice is up to you. Either way, here are some of the tastiest floral jellies around to inspire your creative side…
Dandelion Jelly tastes like honey and has a natural bright yellow color that adds a sunny touch to your morning toast. Dandelion syrup, or basically dandelion jelly without the pectin, is used as a vegan honey substitute because the flavor is so convincing.
It’s one of my daughter’s absolute favorites, and it has a light and floral with just a hint of honey that’s delightful (without being overwhelming).
Wild Violet Jelly has an amazing magenta color that only comes out when lemon juice (or citric acid) is added. An infusion of their petals makes a bright teal, and which then turns magenta (pinkish purple) when the acid source is added.
While the color is beautiful, the flavor is even better. Believe it or not, violet jelly tastes like fresh spring berries!
The flavor is light and floral, but there are definitely berry notes there too. Think blueberry and black raspberry.
Lilac jelly is definitely the most “floral” flower jelly that I’ve made to date, and the flavor is exactly that of fresh lilacs on the spring breeze.
It’s going to taste amazing this winter, after months of nothing but snow, I’m going to pull out this little jar of spring on a sunny Sunday morning.
Bee balm jelly is really unique and has a more savory character than some of the others. Sure, it’s still a sweet jelly full of plenty of sugar, but it’s more “herbal” than it is floral in my opinion.
That’s possible because bee balm (monarda sp.) is actually used in Mediterranean cooking as a seasoning similar to oregano, and though it’s usually the leaves used in savory dishes, the blossoms have a milder herbal character.
The bright red color is stunning in any case!
Fireweed jelly is a wild foraged treat, and you can only make it in places where fireweed grows wild. That said, fireweed (also known as rose willow herb) is pretty common and loves disturbed areas in much the same way as dandelions.
As the name suggests, it colonizes burned sites readily, but also areas after floods and other natural (or man-made) disturbances.
As with any wild plant, make sure you properly identify it before eating the tasty blossoms as jelly.
Beyond my favorites, there are plenty more options, including:
- Apple Blossom Jelly ~ Common Sense Home
- Black Locust Jelly ~ Creative Canning
- Borage Jelly ~ Born in the Wrong Century
- Chamomile Jelly ~ Cooks Recipes
- Clover Blossom Jelly ~ Texas Homesteader
- Daylily Jelly ~ Skirt in the Kitchen
- Elderflower Jelly ~ Creative Canning
- Forsythia Jelly ~ The Free Range Life
- Hibiscus Jelly ~ What Julia Ate
- Honeysuckle Jelly ~ Rootsy
- Kudzu Blossom Jelly ~ Edible Communities
- Lavender Jelly ~ What’s Cooking America
- Milkweed Jelly ~ Backyard Forager
- Peony Jelly ~ Practical Self Reliance
- Rose Petal Jelly ~ Creative Canning
Some recipes actually include flower petals in the jelly and call themselves “floral jam” as a result. A good example is rose jam, which is absolutely unbelievable.
The rose petals stay soft and supple even when cooked, and add beautiful color (and just enough texture) to the finished jam.
Not all flowers make good jams, and most are best strained out after they’ve imparted their flavor. That said, these are particularly good, and either use whole petals or flower petals processed in a food processor before they’re added to the flower jam:
- Rose Petal Jam ~ Feasting at Home
- Johnny Jump Up Jam ~ Blooming Glen Farm
- Hibiscus Jam ~ Garden Girl Cooks
Beyond simple flower jellies, you can also add edible flowers to fruit preserves as well. Blueberry lavender is a classic combination, but there are many others.
Try any of these tasty floral-infused fruit jam recipes:
- Blueberry Lavender Jam ~ Serious Eats
- Strawberry Elderflower Jam ~ Fab Food 4 All
- Roasted Strawberry Chamomile Jelly ~ Ball Fresh Preserving
- Daylily Citrus Jelly ~ Skirt in the Kitchen
- Peach Lavender Jam ~ Love and Olive Oil
Flower jellies capture the flavor of fresh blossoms in a sweet floral jelly.
- 4 cups edible flower blossoms
- 4 cups water
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 to 4 cups sugar *see note
- 1 box (1.75 oz) pectin (Regular or Low Sugar)
- Separate 4 cups of edible flower blossoms from their stems, carefully removing any green parts.
- Pour 4 cups boiling water over the top of the flower blossoms and allow the tea to infuse for about 10 minutes.
- Strain the floral tea into a saucepan or jam pot. Add the lemon juice, which will help bring out the best color in the jelly, but it's also required to balance the sugar in the recipe and help the pectin set. Beyond that, it adds acidity to help preserve the jelly, so don't skip the lemon!
- Bring the mixture to a boil and add the powdered pectin, stirring to dissolve. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute before adding sugar. (Note: Do not add the sugar at the same time as the pectin, or before the pectin, or the jell will not set.)
- Add the sugar, stirring to dissolve (See notes on quantity). Bring the mixture back to a full boil for 1 minute before ladling into jelly jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
- If canning, process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. Otherwise, allow the jars to cool completely on the counter before storing in the refrigerator (for up to a month) or the freezer for up to 6 months.
Please be sure that the blossoms you use for jelly are, in fact, edible flowers, as not all flowers are edible varieties. Only used unsprayed flowers (no herbicides or pesticides) that were harvested from clean locations (ie. not roadsides or drainage ditches).
Beyond that, it's always possible to react to new foods, so please be careful when making big batches of things you've never tried before.
Many flowers are medicinal as well as edible, and while the quantities used in jelly generally aren't considered a "therapeutic dose," be sure that their actions don't conflict with any health conditions you may have. For example, hawthorn blossoms are used in blood pressure preparations, and violet blossoms are mildly diuretic.
Do a bit of background research on the particular blossom you've chosen.
A note on sugar...
If using standard pectin, you must use a 1:1 ratio of liquid to sugar. That means for 4 cups flower blossom tea you'd need a minimum of 4 cups sugar to get the jelly to set. That results in a very sweet "old-fashioned" jelly. To reduce the sugar, simply use low-sugar pectin instead and then make the jelly as instructed but using less sugar. I suggest sure jel low sugar, which is very dependable.
Lowering sugar will also lower yield, and the yield of 5 half-pints is for a full sugar recipe.
If using Pomona's Universal Pectin, the instructions are different as that is a 2-part low sugar pectin. Follow the instructions provided in the Pomona's box for mint jelly.
If using liquid pectin, the order of operations is different (pectin is added last, sugar first). Liquid pectin also requires a lot more sugar to set (7 cups sugar to 4 cups liquid). I don't recommend liquid pectin because of the high sugar levels required for set, but it will work if that's your preference.
Edible Flower Recipes
Looking for more ways to enjoy edible flowers?
- Rose Cordial
- Elderflower Cordial
- Lilac Wine
- Dandelion and Honey Ice Cream
- Dandelion Shortbread Cookies
Edible Flower Guides
These recipe roundups each have dozens of ways to eat edible flowers:
- 60+ Dandelion Recipes
- 60+ Nasturtium Recipes
- 15+ Ways to Use Borage
- How to Eat a Rose (Rose Recipes)
- How to Eat Lilacs (Lilac Recipes)
- How to Eat a Peony (Peony Recipes)