Learn how to make lilac jelly in the first moments of true spring, when lilacs have their short and beautiful bloom! Lilacs are indeed edible, so if you are in search of lilac recipes this is a great one to make this season. This lovely flower jelly is low in sugar and has an amazing light floral taste that is a perfect way to celebrate spring and preserve all of the beauty of these edible and beneficial blossoms!
How to Make Lilac Jelly
Making lilac jelly is a wonderful way to capture the essence and color of lilacs and is a delicious way to enjoy these fragrant edible flowers that are one of the first true signs of spring!
Lilac jelly is one of the easiest floral jellies to make because their bloom is abundant, if short. 5 to 6 large lilac flower clusters are all that is needed, and before you know it you’ll have a beautiful jar full of lilac blossoms!
Make sure when foraging fresh lilacs that they are gathered in a place that is not sprayed with harmful chemicals or growing in high traffic areas like a busy roadside.
This lilac jelly recipe works well with low-sugar pectins, such as Pamona’s Universal Pectin.
Pamona’s Pectin reacts with calcium water instead of sugar, so low amounts of any kind of sweetener can be used to sweeten the taste of the jelly. The calcium powder comes in the box with Pamona’s Universal Pectin, so there is no need to purchase any separately.
If you prefer not to use traditional cane sugar, you could instead use honey, coconut sugar, or another sugar substitute in its place. Keep in mind that sugar does help the jelly set, so without cane sugar, you may get a softer consistency as a result.
I love low-sugar lilac jelly because it allows the fragrant taste and scent of the lilacs to shine through in this unique flower jelly recipe!
Make the Lilac Tea
The first part of this lilac recipe is to make lilac tea with fresh lilac flowers. Gather 5-6 lilac flower heads and rinse if needed. Pick the petals from the stems by hand or with scissors.
4 cups of loosely packed freshly picked lilac flowers are needed per one batch of jelly.
Place the lilacs in a heat-safe quart jar. To enhance the purple color of the jelly, add 5-6 frozen blueberries or blackberries in with the fresh flowers to steep with the tea.
Pour boiling water over the flowers to make a lilac infusion.
As you pour the boiling water over the lilacs, you will notice that the flowers will lose their color and the water will turn bluish-green (or pink-purple if you added the berries). Once the lemon juice is added, it will change to bright pink!
Make sure the water is at boiling point when you pour over the lilacs. Any cooler will make the tea smell slightly spoiled, and the flowers won’t release their color. Be sure to have the jar of flowers ready and close by so the boiling water can be poured immediately and directly from the stove.
Cover the jar and allow the tea to cool to room temperature on the counter. Then, place it in the refrigerator and let it steep for 8 hours or overnight, no longer than 24 hours.
Make the Lilac Jelly
First, before you begin, prepare the calcium water by combining 1/2 teaspoon calcium powder with 1/2 cup water in a small jar and shake well. Any unused calcium water can be stored in the fridge for future use.
Then wash the jars, lids, and bands. Place the jars in a large pot with enough water to cover them, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat off and keep the jars in the hot water until ready to use.
The lids and bands can be covered with water set to a low boil in a smaller saucepan. Once boiling, turn the heat off and keep the lids and bands in the hot water until ready to use.
Strain the Lilac Tea
Use a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth to strain the lilac flowers out of the tea. Compost the spent lilacs.
Pour 4 cups of lilac tea (adding a little water if necessary to measure up) into a medium saucepan. Add the calcium water and lemon juice, and mix well.
Cook the Jelly
In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and pectin. Stir to combine thoroughly and set aside.
Heat the saucepan with the tea jelly mixture until it comes to a full boil. Add the pectin-sugar mixture and stir vigorously until the jelly comes back up to a boil.
Once the jelly comes back to a full boil, remove it from the heat.
Fill the Jars and Process for Canning
Fill the hot jars with the jelly mixture, leaving about a 1/4 inch space at the top. Wipe the rims clean and pop bubbles as necessary.
For canning, place the filled jars in boiling water that completely covers the jars. Cover the pot and process for 10 minutes (add 1 minute for every 1,000 feet above sea level).
Remove from the water bath and let the jars cool, then check the seals.
What Color is Lilac Jelly?
Since lilacs are purple, one might expect a purple jelly! However, in reality, light purple lilacs result in a tan/yellow jelly.
When you pour the boiling water over the fresh lilac flowers, the steeped tea liquid is a bluish-green color that changes to pink when you add the lemon juice due to the change in pH. Once processed, it too will turn to a light tan or yellow color.
To turn the lilac tea into a beautiful purple color that turns raspberry pink when the lemon juice is added, add 5-6 frozen blueberries or blackberries to the flowers before steeping.
The jelly will then be a bright raspberry pink after cooking but will fade a little when canned in the water bath. It ends up a delicate and beautiful light pink color perfect for spring. This is really like a fun science project!
How to Eat Lilac Jelly
Lilac jelly will last up to a year stored, and once opened will last 3 weeks in the refrigerator. You’ll be so glad you have this burst of floral spring flavor waiting for you whenever you have a craving!
This flower jelly is delicious on buttered toast, with crackers and cream cheese, or topped on vanilla ice cream or yogurt.
Try these other delicious edible flower recipes!
- Lilac Flower Infused Honey
- Lilac Mead: Floral Honey Wine
- Wild Violet Flower Infused Vinegar
- Forsythia Flower Honey Syrup
- Nasturtium Flower Infused Vinegar
- 4 cups boiling water
- 4 cups fresh lilac flowers
- 5-6 frozen blueberries or blackberries optional
- Wash the lilac flowers if needed, and pick the flowers by hand or with scissors to remove them from the stems. Fill about 4 cups full of blossoms.
- Place the lilacs into a heat-safe quart jar.
- Optional: Add 5-6 frozen blueberries or blackberries to make the jelly purple.
- Once you have filled your quart jar with loosely packed fresh lilac flowers, pour the boiling water over them to make the tea infusion.
- Cover the jar and allow it to cool to room temperature on the counter. Then, place it in the refrigerator and let it steep for 8 hours or overnight.
- First, prepare the calcium water by combining ½ tsp of calcium powder (from the Pomona's Pectin package) with ½ cup water in a small jar. Shake well. Any extra calcium water can be stored in the refrigerator for future use.
- Place the jars in a large pot with enough water to cover them. Bring the water to a boil, then turn off the heat and keep the jars in the hot water until it is time to use them.
- Place the lids in a small pot and heat to a low boil, then turn the heat off and keep them in the hot water until ready to use.
- Using a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth, strain the lilac tea and compost the spent lilacs.
- Pour 4 cups of lilac tea into a medium saucepan. If necessary, add a small amount of water to bring the tea up to meet this measurement.
- Add 1 Tbsp + ½ tsp of the calcium water and lemon juice, and mix well.
- In a small bowl, mix the sugar and pectin together until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
- Heat the jelly in a pot until it comes to a full boil. Add the pectin-sugar mixture and stir vigorously for 1-2 minutes until the jelly comes back up to a boil.
- Once the jelly returns to a boil, remove it from the heat.
- Fill the hot jars with the jelly leaving ¼ inch of space at the top. Wipe the rims clean, and pop any bubbles as necessary. Cover the jars with a lid and ring.
- To can, place the filled jars in boiling water to cover. Boil for 10 minutes (add 1 minute for every 1,000 feet above sea level).
- Remove from the water and let the jars cool, then check to make sure they are sealed.
- Eat within a year. Once opened, the jelly lasts 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
- Make sure the water is boiling when you pour it over the fresh lilacs for the tea. If the water is cooler than boiling, the lilacs won't release their color and will smell slightly spoiled. Have the jar of petals ready and pour the boiling water right from the stove into the jar.
- It's best to make lilac jelly in single batches. Trying to double or triple a batch will risk losing the color or flavor and the quality of the jelly.
- Note that Pamona's Universal Pectin comes with the calcium powder needed to make this low-sugar lilac jelly.