Ever made jelly from foraged fireweed blossoms? We weren’t sure what to expect, but when we came across an entire hillside covered with beautiful, fragrant fireweed in bloom, we decided to give it a try. The resulting fireweed jelly is beautifully flavored and smells lovely. I may be a writer, but I can’t describe it with words other than “fireweed!” If you come across a stand of these beautiful pink-purple flowers, give it a try! Our first batch went so well we went back up the mountain two days later and picked more!
Jim used a knife to cut the blossom frond off the plants. I used a pair of kitchen shears. Although fireweed grows from seeds, it also spreads from the rhizomes, so no guilt taking flowers. As if we could have made a dent in that hillside anyway! An amazing purple sight. And did I mention fragrant?
Once home, we plucked the blossoms themselves off the stalks, measured them, and added them to water and sugar to simmer, then let sit overnight.
After straining the blossoms out of the liquid, I added some grape juice — some recipes don’t call for this, but this one did. Then, when the mixture had heated, I added the pectin.
The color turned quite opaque at first after the pectin was added, but with the addition of the remainder of the sugar and a good boil, the color clarified to a lovely purply pink and began to set.
How to Make Fireweed Jelly
(from page 94, The Boreal Herbal by Beverley Gray)
2.5 cups fireweed petals
2 cups water
2 cups white sugar (divided)
1 cup grape juice (white or red, or a mix)
1 package powdered pectin
Place petals, water, and 2/3 cup sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat then simmer 5 minutes before turning off heat. Leave to steep for 6-10 hours or overnight. Then strain out the petals and return the liquid to the saucepan.
Add the grape juice and the pectin and bring to a boil. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly, add the remainder of the sugar, and bring back to a boil. Keep stirring! Boil hard for about 90 seconds.
Pour into hot sterilized jars and top with boiling snap lids and screw bands. Cover with hot water in a hot water bath canner, bring to a boil, and let it simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove jars from canner. Test seals when jars are cool. If you’re new to hot water bath canning, click here for tips.
Makes about 3.5 cups jelly. And it’s delicious!