Friday, 3 June 2011

Preserving the Floral Forage

This spring we didn't get much opportunity to forage but we did manage to get a decent harvest of flowers and as the elder flower is still out in force I'm sure it will continue. I tried my hand at preserving some of the flowers in a dandelion jelly (supposed to be a marmalade but I'm four years old and hate bits), a rose petal jelly and, elderflower cordial.
For the cupboard

The dandelion jelly and the rose petal are interesting to compare and contrast. Although the flowers taste subdued when eating them alone in the jellies you could taste their completely different characteristics. The rose petal jelly has a more fragrant quality and a soft sweetness while the dandelion packs more of a punch. Of course the elderflower cordial tastes delicious as you can tell by the suspiciously half full bottle.
The back breaking labour of picking cute flowers.
One other thing I've learned from this preserving session is that the pectin I use (Tate & Lyle) can clump up when added into the mix. This leaves a nice blob to ruin the look of your crystal clear (in theory) jellies. So I've taken to whisking it furiously with a little water before adding it along with the sugar, like you would with cornflower. It makes my jellies look a little better.

Both jelly recipes where from Hedgerow (River Cottage Handbook) there is also an elderflower cordial recipe in there although I cobbled mine together from memory and a few books.

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