Yes, lavender. I took a basic herb jelly recipe, changing up the herb for different products.
Oh. My. God.
Lavender has been the most inspired. My friends are in for a sublime holiday gift.
Lavender jelly is such a girl thing. It begs for an intimate garden party or sophisticated high tea with shortbread or scones. It would be tasty as a glaze for ham or topping for cream cheese spread or spread between layers of pound cake. Maybe thumbprint cookies or jelly-filled doughnuts. I’ve seen suggestions as a garnish with lamb, chicken or turkey.
My jelly started with dried culinary lavender flowers. Grow your own, source them locally or mail order from a trustworthy farm. I ordered English lavender, Lavandula angustifolia, from Mountain Rose Herbs in Eugene, Oregon. I would have sourced the locally, but quantities were limited.
The first step in production was lavender tea. While some recipes use water, I infused lavender in apple juice. After boiling one cup of dried lavender flowers in four cups apple juice, I was supposed to steep them for 10 minutes. I was tired, so I went to bed and the flower buds soaked overnight.
Wow! When I tasted the tea in the morning, it was intense. So, I diluted it with 50 percent water. Even then, the results were powerful. I’d say thin the tea at your discretion.
Without food coloring the product is pink-ish. With food coloring it turns a brownish-purple. With the gold of apple juice, a light lavender seems impossible. I’d suggest avoiding food coloring. For gifting a label, is important. And, in fact, should suggest uses for this culinary indulgence. My next project is developing those labels.
Know that Mountain Rose Herbs cautions, “Similar to cilantro, some individuals perceive the taste of lavender in a manner that is undesirable within cuisine. An estimated 10 percent of the population interprets lavender to have a soapy and unsavory flavor. For this reason, it may be wise to exercise caution while using lavender as a flavoring agent.”
What’s your favorite herbal jelly?