We need to rewind a bit to catch up on all our flavors! June rolled out our first month of jelly boxes filled with the local flavors of Spring. Our boxes had the vibrancy of violet, sunniness of forsythia & gentle caress of redbuds. What has been your favorite flavor so far? It is impossible for me to pick, plus I may be just a bit biased!
I am very partial to violet because of the color changing properties it has and so is my 9 year old daughter. She loves coming to watch when I'm transforming it from tea (first step of jelly making) into the jelly. At the first step, I pour boiling water over the gorgeous deep purple blooms & let it steep. As the flowers steep, the tea turns a vibrant bluish purple color. Then I strain the flowers out & pour the tea into a pot. Adding lemon juice instantly transforms the color to a rich, luxurious pink with just a hint of purple left.
This is a really cool one to share with children just for the ooohhhs and aahhhs. And you can take it a step further to include a science lesson discussing why the tea changes colors (alkaline vs acidic). Violet water is a natural way to test your soil's pH, which can be beneficial to planting gardens. And I could write a book on all the wonderful medicinal qualities of violet, but I'll stick to the color & jelly for now!
Next up is forsythia. I love the bright, cheery yellow flowers in early Spring. Many times it is the only color popping out at it's peak time, at least in our yard. Our plants are just outside our kitchen window in our pollinator/bird garden, so we get to watch all sorts of activity around it & enjoy the pop of cheery sunshine right out our window during meals.
I just love the color of forsythia on dreary Spring days to lift my spirits, a great reminder that better days are to come! Other than a wonderfully tasty jelly, forsythia is a great anti-viral to add to your home apothecary, great for skin issues in products like facial washes, toners & to help with oily, acne prone skin. I've also made a lovely flower essence with it that is marvelous for boosting your mood when you're feeling just a bit down & need some sunshine.
Forsythia infused honey or vinegar are great treats to add to salads or even the fresh blooms.
And last but certainly not least is redbud. I have to be honest - before I learned that redbud was edible, I never really paid any attention to it. Boy, am I glad that's changed! If you haven't tried redbud blooms, you don't know what you're missing!
If you are familiar with pea plants, you'll be able to quickly tell that redbud is in the pea family (Fabaceae) by looking at the blooms. Aren't they cute! The blooms are a tasty treat whether you munch them straight from the tree, toss them in a salad or transform them into infused honey, vinegar or jelly. They are reminiscent of cotton candy as it fades on your tongue with just the slightest bit of sweet pea undertones.
July's jelly box will have mimosa, rose petal & chamomile mint flavors. I've been busy the last few weeks making these & will share more about them soon. Until then, enjoy smelling & tasting flowers of the season!