Last week, I noticed a strange low buzzing sound in our yard coming from my lavender bushes. I walked a little bit closer to figure out where the noise was coming from… and realized, each lavender flower had it’s own individual bee! So many bees… so many flowers! When I planted these bushes last year, we had a few flowers, but nowhere near the amount that was blooming this spring. So I harvested and dried several pounds worth of flower heads. (Just cut the flower heads off, and lay on top of waxed paper on your kitchen counter for a few days.)
There are so many things you can do with lavender! I like to make lavender tea, which has a wonderful minty flavor to it – it’s great hot or iced. (Lavender is one of the many species in the Lamiaceae (Mint Family), which explains it’s similarities to mint.) You can make lavender lemonade, lavender ice cream, lavender short bread cookies… and my new favorite: Lavender Flower Jelly. This jelly is AMAZING on cream scones or pound cake. Serve it over ice cream, blend it into a milkshake, or make some delicious jam tarts bars!
I got the idea to make this jelly when we went to the Carlsbad Flower fields last week. ”Carlsbad Gourmet” had a little booth set up in the nursery, selling “Strawberry Lavender Sundaes.” They simmered a mixture of lavender jelly (that they also had for sale) with sliced strawberries, then served the warm compote over vanilla ice cream and angel cake. Soooo good!
Lavender Flower Jelly:
- 5 c. water
- 1/2 c. dried lavender flowers
- zest of one lemon
- juice of one lemon (about 1/4 c.)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3 T. low sugar pectin
- 3 c. sugar
- large stock pot with wire rack
- 6 half-pint jars
1. Boil the water in a large saucepan. Turn off the heat and add the dried lavender flowers, steep 20 minutes. (During the last 5 minutes of steep time, add the lemon zest.
2. Strain the lavender water. You should have 4 cups – if not, add water to make the volume equal 4 cups.
3. Put the lavender water into a pot, and heat. Add the lemon juice, salt, and pectin. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Add the sugar and turn up the heat. Boil hard for 1 minute, then turn off the heat. Your lavender flower jelly is now ready. At this point, you can water bath can the jelly to store for longer periods of time – or ladle into sterilized jars and freeze (or refrigerate – use up within a few weeks if not canning or freezing.).
5. To water bath can your jelly: While you are making the jelly, prepare your jars. Put the clean jars on top of the wire rack in the pot, and fill with water. Also put your jar rings, ladle, and tongs in the water. Bring the water to a boil, and allow the water to boil for at least 15 minutes to sterilize the jars.
6. Remove the jars from the hot water, and fill the hot jars with hot jelly. While you are doing this, allow the lids to soak in the hot water for 5 minutes to soften the adhesive and sterilize. Clean the rims of the jars, place the lids on top, the screw the rings on finger tight.
7. Place the jars back into the hot water (make sure water is covering the tops of the jars by at least 1″), and bring back to a boil. Boil the jars (covered) for at least 10 minutes. You might need to add additional processing time to your jars if you are cooking at a higher elevation.
8. Remove the jars and allow to cool on top of a kitchen towel. You will hear pinging or popping sounds as the lids seal down to the jars. Allow the jars to remain undisturbed overnight. In the morning, check the seals by depressing the lids with a finger – the lids should not move up and down if sealed properly. Your jelly will keep in a cool pantry for at least a year.