In this house, we look forward to peony season every year. Classic peonies, tree peonies--all colors & sizes, these gorgeous flowers fill our gardens with beauty & fragrance. We cut them by the armful & bring them indoors to fill that space up with their beauty & fragrance too!
One of my favorite ways to enjoy peonies is to make jelly with them. That's right! Not only do they smell great--they taste great too! The jelly is almost as beautiful as the flowers themselves, & it is a fun & tasty way to stretch out your enjoyment of these fleeting beauties.
This year, peony season was delayed greatly by the cold, wet Spring we have had here in midcoast Maine. As a matter of fact, the bulk of my pink peonies have only just opened, which is really unheard of being that it is July 2nd! I had been holding out for the pinks & was only just able to make our jelly for this year. You can make peony jelly with any color petals, but I prefer to use the pinks as they make the MOST AMAZINGLY colored jelly, as you will see as I run us through the whole process.
Now, if you have ever visited our store [or had me make you a cocktail..] you know how into edible flowers I am! We are forever getting ”jiggy” with it this house, making tinctures & syrups with herbs & flowers, baking & cooking with flowers, constantly looking for new, fun ways to use what we are growing or foraging.
Peonies are one of those things that many people are growing that they just don't realize are edible -- but they are & they are delicious! The petals can be used to make peony water, which is a lovely, refreshing addition to lemonade, or to make bar syrup for craft cocktails. And, if you play your cards right, you can enjoy these harbingers of Spring & Summer all year round… in jelly form that is! Whip up a batch or 2 of this easy-to-make jelly & enjoy peony season any time you wish!
Making the jelly is super easy & 100% worth your time. Enjoy your blooms, then collect the petals just before they start turning brown. Honestly, making sure no ants hitchhike into your bowl is the hardest part! You can use any color petals, but if you make your jelly with the soft pink & fuchsia ones, you will be rewarded with stunning, absolutely preternaturally colored jelly. Seriously--the pictures do not do it justice! It is kind of like a dragonfruit-pink.
What does it taste like you ask? It is a delectable mix I will describe as a blend of peaches & strawberries with a soft floral note. YUM!
Without further ado, here is my recipe:
Start by plucking all your petals, taking care to remove any leaves & stray ants. Pop them in a colander & give them a good rinse. I find each full flower holds about one cup of petals, so 4 or 5 flowers at most should do a batch for you. Add your petals & 5 cups of water to a pot & bring to a full boil, stirring occasionally. You will notice the petals are already releasing color. Boil for a minute, then ladle liquid & petals into a mason jar. Allow to cool completely, then cap & set aside to steep overnight.
Strain off your liquid the next day.
You can compost or toss out the petals at this point. Get your clean & sterile jars ready!
Add 3 TBS fresh lemon juice & bring the liquid to a boil. Once at a full boil, add the pectin & sugar, stir to combine until fully dissolved. Boil this mixture for 15 minutes, until glossy & thick.
I hope you enjoy making & eating this jelly. Let me know what you think. I am always happy to hear of new & exciting uses for herbs & flowers, & I would love it if you would share yours with us. Keep growing!