I have always been a jam and jelly guy. Growing up my grandmothers used to make jams and jellies and I loved eating them. They always tasted better than any of the selection we used to get at the grocery store. One grandmother used to make a strawberry-rhubarb jam that was to die for and I would put it on my pancakes and roll them up like crepes. The other grandmother made apricot jam that to this day is by far my favorite jam ever. I will eat that apricot jam on just about anything but my favorite way is on an over buttered English muffin.
About 15 years ago I tried making a pepper jelly and ended up with a very runny, overly sweet, jalapeno syrup. After that epic fail I decided that preserves just weren't for me and I would continue buying them and stealing them from my grandmothers. Then about ten years ago I came across a recipe for and apricot habenero jam. My interested was sparked again and I figured I would give it one more shot. That jam turned out amazing and I started making more and more jams and jellies.
Since then I have been a preserve making fool, I figured out how to make them and have been experimenting with every type of "out there" jellies and jams that I can. A few years ago I had an abundance of thyme in the garden so I made a thyme jelly
, it was pretty awesome with corn bread. Then I started making jellies with honey and every year make a lemon and honey jelly and a honey and port wine jelly. Last year I got a wild hair when my neighbors Lilac bush bloomed and I started thinking about how to turn it into a jelly. Lilacs have a very beautiful aroma and I wanted to capture that in some sort of food. Jelly just seemed to be the perfect fit.
That first batch of lilac jelly was a big hit and went very quickly. Unfortunately lilacs only bloom for a very short period of time so I had to wait a whole year before I was able to make another batch. This year when the lilacs bloomed I was on my way out of town for a week and didn't want to miss my opportunity so I had a very late night jelly making session. This years lilac jelly was even better than I remember it being. It almost has a honey like quality. That wonderful lilac aroma comes through beautifully and tastes like heaven. I am thinking that if I ever get organized enough I should enter this jelly in the state fair, but for now I will just enjoy it with my over buttered English muffins.
2 cups of packed lilac flowers
2 1/2 cups of boiling water
Boil the water and then pour it over the flowers and let sit until the water is room temp. Then filter the water save it for the jelly.
2 cups lilac water
1 box of suregel powdered pectin
4 tablespoons lemon juice
4 cups of sugar
stir together the lilac water lemon juice and suregel and bring to a boil. add the sugar and bring back to a roiling boil, stirring constantly. once you reach a rolling boil, boil hard for 1 minute then remove from the heat. scrape off any foam that settles on top and then pour into sterilized containers. process in a water bath for 10 minutes.
this recipe made me 10 4 oz. containers