Queen Anne’s Lace Flower Jelly

“Who is Kathryn Yeomans?”  The trio of women huddled over the tiny glass jar lifted their heads and scanned the room.
“She’s my wife,” a voice offered.
“Where is she?  We need to know more about this,” one of the women said, pointing to a delicately colored pink jelly amidst a banquet of brown.

We were at a Forager’s dinner – pot luck – hosted by the Oregon Mycological Society.  The table was laden with casseroles, gratins, and soups made with a myriad of mushrooms.  Stuffed mushrooms, mushroom pickles, mushrooms grilled and roasted.  And for dessert – a candy cap mushroom apple crisp.  No doubt a dainty pink offering would cause some questioning.

Daucus carota.  Wild carrot.  A beautiful lacy white bloom.  It’s scent, somewhat sweet but distinctly carrot, might not exactly make you think – let’s make floral jelly with this!  But should you try, you will be in for an exhibition of alchemy, as the stinky army-green tea of wild carrot flower is transformed into a honeyed sweet débutante-pink jelly.  A food fairy tale of sorts.

Queen Anne’s Lace Jelly
adapted from the Sage Cottage Herb Garden Cookbook by Dorry Baird Norris

2 cups very firmly packed Queen Anne’s Lace flowers, snipped from their stems close to the blossom
5 cups boiling water
3 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 package Sure-Jell “no sugar needed” or “for less or no sugar recipes” (formerly “Sure Jell light) – do not use regular Sure Jell for this recipe, or you will end up with syrup rather than jelly
4 1/2 Tbsp. strained lemon juice

Place the flowers in a bowl and pour the boiling water over them.  Cover the bowl and allow the flowers to steep in the water for 15 minutes.  Strain the tea (the first time I made this recipe, I was alarmed by both the unappetizing murky green color of the tea, and the strong carrot-top smell…I forged ahead despite my trepidation).

Measure 4 1/2 cups of the strained infusion and add it to a large non-reactive pot.  Mix 1/4 cup of the sugar with the Sure-Jell, and stir it into the flower tea in the pot.  Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil over high heat.  Immediately stir in the remaining sugar and return to a boil.  Boil for exactly 1 minute, skimming the foam (impurities) that rise to the surface.  Remove the pot from the heat.  Stir in the lemon juice, and skim again if needed.  Pour the jelly at once into sterilized jars, cover with sterilized lids, and seal.

Enjoy Queen Anne’s Lace jelly with toast or spread on biscuits or pound cake, or serve it like I do, as a “spoon sweet” -
Literally eaten from a spoon, spoon sweets are traditionally served from crystal dishes, using small teaspoons, with strong coffee, or tea, and iced water.  They are a brought forth as a gesture of hospitality in the Balkans, Middle East, and Russia.

A warning – Queen Anne’s Lace has a dangerous poison look-alike.  Poison Hemlock has been mistaken for Queen Anne’s Lace – a deadly mistake indeed (the death of Socrates was brought on by poison hemlock), though if you are familiar with the definite differences, they hardly look alike at all – plus, wild carrot leaves smell distinctly of carrot, while hemlock smells quite unpleasant.

Queen Anne’s Lace has medicinal uses – in fact, the seeds have been used as a contraception.  The roots of the plant can be used to make paper.  For more about daucus carota uses, check out the World Carrot Museum.

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About Kathryn LaSusa Yeomans

By offering Sage Culinary Advice, The Farmer's Feast assists Farmers' Market shoppers in making the most of their purchases, and helps vendors realize the culinary possibilities of their products. We create culinary education programs at Farmers' Markets. Through food preparation and cooking demonstrations, recipes focusing on technique, samples, stories and free advice, we're encouraging people to cook more often, from scratch, with market-fresh ingredients. Our goal? To cultivate domestic culinary arts. Once you've tasted the Farmer's Feast - glistening local produce, pastured meats, artisan cheese, wild seafood, rich nuts, grains and legumes - and see how easy cooking this bounty can be, you'll be hungry for fresh. Visit The Farmer's Feast on Facebook / E-mail wildeats@msn.com
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12 Responses to Queen Anne’s Lace Flower Jelly

  1. janice baker says:

    Does Queen Anne’s Lace Jelly take awhile to set up? I have made jellies for 40 years and I have followed the directions carefully, but this has me stumped. It has been two days and is not set.

  2. corinne hopper says:

    Hello, there. I found this recipe when looking for ways to grow grass in a chicken coop. (Can’t be done) Here in Alabama, Queen Anne’s Lace grows abundantly and this weekend I made this jelly. It is exactly as Vern Nelson describes; the color of pink grapefruit and it glows from within. It is delicious as well. So happy to have found this lovely treat.

    • I’m so happy to hear that you had success turning weeds into jewels! Fun, isn’t it? I love the flower jellies – I just finihsed 20 jars of elderflower jelly (recipe is similar and can be found on this blog). More golden, honey-colored, but equally floral & lovely. Enjoy your sweets!

  3. shari says:

    In your directions you say “seal”. Does that mean process as in canning jellies or simply screw on the lid? Thank you

    • In general, with jellies and jams, if the jars and screw bands have been sterilized, dried (air drying in a 175-200 degree oven works very well and keeps the jars hot and clean until ready to use), and are very hot when the hot jelly is added, then waterbath boiling is not necessary. The heat of the jelly and the jars will seal the lids. You can process them in a waterbath to be sure if you want, or you can turn the filled and sealed jars upside down for 10 minutes, then turn them right side up and let them seal (sort of an old fashioned method). For more information on sealing jams and jellies, check out the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving.

  4. twoforksfarm says:

    I tried this jelly, and am still impressed with the concept. I’ve been contemplating which other herbs might be interesting as jellies.

    I met you today at Montavilla market, and wanted to say that I loved your pumpkin soup!

    Thank you! – – Jennifer

  5. bender says:

    congrats on your jelly making it into the oregonian!

  6. Elise Albert says:

    So I was the woman at the mycology potluck who said “We need to know more about this!” upon first tasting this lovely jelly, and I am so glad we did. My spouse and I gathered ample flowerheads last week in the Johnson Creek watershed and the jelly—two batches total—came off without a hitch. The hardest part was trying to make sure the occasional hitchhiker on the flowerheads got off safely, and most got the hint very easily. I especially love that it’s the color of pink lemonade, and the floral taste is distinctive, yet light and lovely. Thank you again, Kathyrn!

  7. bender says:

    awesome jelly! and nice pictures too. how bout doin that fig mustard recipe next?

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