Did you know the redbud is in the pea family? I didn’t until recently, but if you go eat the blossoms, you will believe it. They taste just like peas. Think what an interesting addition to a salad that could be! And after the flowers are gone and they prduce those little pea-like pods, those are edible, too! Just fry them in a little butter. For now, however, I’m content working amongst the bees in order to make some redbud jelly.
Because, as anyone who has followed this blog since last year knows, I love floral jellies.
I wasn’t so sure about this one. After all, the buds tasted like peas. The infusion smelled like peas. And whoever heard of pea jelly? But I’ll try anything twice. So now for the recipe:
4 cups redbud buds (Make sure you know what you’re harvesting! I don’t know of anything you could confuse with a redbud, but just be sure, OK?)
4 cups boiling water, plus some extra water
8 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 packages dry pectin
8 cups sugar
Place your flower buds in a heat safe dish. Cover with boiling water. Cover and leave for 24 hours.
Strain out the flowers and squeeze out the excess moisture. Add enough water to the infusion to make four cups.
Stir in pectin and lemon juice. Bring to a boil.
Add sugar all at once, return to a boil and boil for one minute. Skim the foam and pour into jelly jars. (I got eight from this recipe.) Process as you would any other jelly in a hot water bath.
I think this is the most beautiful jelly I have made yet. It was perfect. I love the color. The jelly is clear and there are few bubbles. It set nicely, with that perfect jiggle-on-the-end-of-your-spoon consistency. And did I mention what a lovely color it is?
I left the foam on a plate to cool for our first sample and it was delicious. It wasn’t quite lilac jelly, but it has a nice tangy flavor. A lot of that is from the lemon juice you have to add which gives most of your floral jellies a citrusy taste, but it is definitely a pleasant, light flavor. And it doesn’t taste anything like peas.
Makes me wonder what pea jelly actually would taste like.