Alaska has been treating me and my family very well. Since moving here, I’ve enjoyed it’s beauty so much. In the summer, the fireweed is green and starts blooming fuchsia flowers, and it loses the blooms and turns red near the end of summer. Although beautiful, it is known as an invasive species, so it grows quite well.
Summertime is the time to pick the fireweed blossoms and make tea or jelly with them (or maybe something else). I wanted to try my hand at making fireweed jelly, although I almost feel wrong trimming the blossoms away instead letting other people enjoy the look of fireweed in it’s natural state.
To begin, you are going to collect 1 1/2 cups of tightly packed fireweed blossoms. For this, it is easiest to cut the stem near the bottom flower and bring all collected stems home to pluck the flowers off. I learned the hard way that it will take a very long time out in a field if plucking the blossoms instead of cutting stems right away. For this recipe it seemed to be around 60 stems average to equal enough blossoms. I started counting blossoms and I think it was roughly 450 blossoms in 1 cup of them tightly packed.
After plucking the blossoms, you’ll want to rinse them in a strainer with cold water. Then put in a saucepan with water to boil.
Your water may appear yellowish at first, but don’t worry, it changes it appearance after that to a rose color. Then reddish, then a dark purple after cooling slightly.
After the blooms no longer have their purplish color. Strain the liquid with cheese cloth placed over a strainer and bowl. Wring out the excess water from the blossoms. The fluid that is left is called fireweed tea.
After this you can make the jelly right away or place the tea in the fridge and make jelly at a later time or use the tea for something else.
To make the jelly place the tea in a sauce pan add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. That will change the purple back to a fuchsia color again. Add the sugar and liquid pectin and bring to a boil. Boil this for a minute then pour into jelly jars and cover. Flip the jar over on its lid for about 5 minutes. If you wish to freeze the jelly to preserve them, let them cool before placing them in the freezer. If you want to use a water bath processing to seal them then they can be stored at room temperature.
This jelly goes great on an english muffin or toast. My kids also enjoy it with peanut butter, and like to pair it with almond butter. Fireweed jelly is something I will look forward to making each summer we are here in Alaska.
- 1 ½ cups fireweed blossoms tightly packed
- 2 ¼ cups water
- 1 ¾ cups fireweed juice
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 ½ cups sugar
- 3 oz packet CERTO liquid pectin
To Make Fireweed Tea:
- 1. Rinse fireweed blossoms, place blossoms in saucepan.
- 2. Add 2 1/4 cup water to saucepan, cook this mixture in the saucepan until color is removed from the blossoms.
- 3. Use cheesecloth in a strainer and bowl to separate the liquid from the flowers. Wring out excess of fluids. The liquid is the fireweed juice, discard the blooms.
To Make Fireweed Jelly:
- 1. Pour fireweed juice into a saucepan, add the lemon juice and stir.
- 2. Stir in sugar and liquid pectin. Bring this mixture to a boil. Boil for 1 minute.
- 3. Remove from heat and pour into readied canning jars. Screw on lids and turn the jar upside down for 5 minutes.
- 4. Process the jars how you'd wish - freeze the jars after cooling completely, or complete a water bath to complete the canning process.