Oh. My. Goodness. Whether you’ve canned before or not, this is a “must do” this summer. The scent of Honeysuckle spurs magical childhood memories of summers here in the South where honeysuckles are found at every turn. Whether you’re outside doing chores or sitting back relaxing, Honeysuckle fragrance has a wonderful way of gently permeating the air and just plain making a person happy. After many ripped flowers, my 5 year old has finally mastered the extraction technique and formed a real appreciation for Honeysuckle “honey” straight from the flower. I’m guessing that no matter your age, you probably loved and indulged in the “honey” too. Hopefully you still do. I have a recipe that was in my mother’s recipe box from a Birds and Blooms magazine issue, but this is a little different because I tweaked it to use liquid pectin after seeing others that used it. It’s just a preference. On the next batch I believe I’ll work on the amount of sugar used, but here is the original version that I still highly recommend. Spread it on a biscuit or serve it as a unique summer party hors d’oeuvre with a dab of cream cheese on a fancy cracker like you would with Hot Pepper Jelly. It tastes and smells just like honeysuckle flowers and is bound to get the party conversation started!
How to do it:
Honeysuckle in Bloom
1) Using the same “green tip saving” picking technique that you would use if you were going to suck the honey, pick 2 cups of the “prime” flowers. (the ones that are older than the really white ones, but not yet beginning to shrivel)
Honeysuckle with Green Tips Intact
My recipe said to wash them, but I couldn’t wrap my mind around that so I didn’t do it. Mine were in no danger of having been sprayed with anything, or strewn with debris from passing cars. Make your own call on washing, depending on where you harvest from.
2) Pinch the green tips from the flowers, but do not pull the stamen through. Place the measured 2 cups of prepared flowers into a half gallon Mason jar. These large jars are great to have on hand. Wide Mouth 1/2 Gallon Ball Mason Jars (the picture below is from a double batch that I made)
Honeysuckle flowers separated from the green tips
Ready to pour the hot water in…
3) Make a Honeysuckle Infusion by bringing 2 cups of water to a boil and pouring it into the mason jar containing the 2 cups of prepared flowers. Cap it tightly and let this sit a minimum of 4 hours or overnight if possible. If you have to separate your time for this recipe, let the jar of infusion cool and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. You can strain it beforehand or afterward. We had one of our goats kid right in the middle of my jelly making and I left mine in the fridge, unstrained, from Saturday afternoon until Tuesday evening. The infusion turned to a cloudier yellow/green, but reverted to a beautiful golden clear once it was cooked.
4) Strain the flowers from the liquid (now an infusion) and place the infusion into a large saucepan. (*At this point, place your clean jars into a pot of water to boil and sterilize. 2 piece lids should be placed in another shallow pan to sterilize.)
5) Add 1/4 Cup of lemon juice and 4 Cups of sugar to the pot containing the infusion. Turn heat to medium high. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil that won’t stir down. If you have a Candy Thermometer, bring it to “Jelly” stage or 220 degrees.
Honeysuckle Jelly Cooking
6) Add ONE 3 oz. package of Liquid Fruit Pectin, 2 Pack, 6 Fl Oz (this Amazon link is for a 2 pack box, please do not be confused by the link description). Boil for 2 minutes. You want to have the large saucepan mentioned so that the mixture doesn’t boil over the top of your pot in this step.
7) Ladle jelly into the hot, sterilized jars leaving approximately 1/2 inch head space. (I like half pint jars like THESE) Screw on sterilized lids until they are “finger tight”. Use tongs to retrieve the hot jars and lids from their sterilization bath. Some recipes say to process jars of jelly in a Water-Bath Canner for 15 minutes, but I always do what my mother and grandmother did and just turn them upside down for 5 or 10 minutes, then right them to cool and they seal just fine. If botulism were a concern because of the acidity level, I would go for the pressure canner, but for jellies like this it’s not necessary. The water bath canner for only 5 minutes doesn’t get hot enough to address that anyway.
8) Place the jars, turned upright, away from excessive heat or drafts and allow to cool for 24 hours. You’ll hear them “Pop” when they seal and it’s fun to count them down. Once fully cooled, you can test to make sure they are properly sealed either by pressing on the tops to make sure they don’t make any sound or have any movement in the lid, or by bouncing a small spoon on each lid. If they are sealed, the spoon will bounce easily and make a nice “ping”. If they aren’t sealed, the sound will be dull and the spoon won’t have a good bounce. Jars that don’t seal can be kept in the refrigerator and used first.
Testing for Sealed Jars Using a Spoon
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Here is the recipe in quick and dirty form for those who don’t need the step by step:
Honeysuckle Jelly – yields 5 half-pint jars
– 2 Cups Honeysuckle flowers
– 2 Cups boiling water
– 1/4 Cup lemon juice
– 4 Cups sugar
– 1 package liquid pectin – ONE 3OZ PACKAGE.
Pick green tips from flowers and discard. Make an infusion by placing flowers and boiling water in a half gallon mason jar and capping tightly. Let sit for at least 4 hours or let cool and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Strain flowers from infusion and place the infusion in a large saucepan along with lemon juice and sugar. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. If using a candy thermometer, heat to 220 degrees. (jelly stage) Add the pectin and boil for 2 minutes.
Ladle into hot, sterilized jars and cap with sterilized 2 piece canning lids. Place jars in a water bath canner for 5 minutes or turn upside down on a towel for 5-10 minutes before righting.
Place jars upright on a towel, away from excessive heat or drafts and allow to cool for 24 hours. Test jars for proper sealing.