Baby Boomer Babbling-er-Musings

I'm from the baby boomer generation. I have a mop of white hair, courtesy of my gene pool. And a botox-free face that sports frown lines in the forehead and around the eyes. Love handles instead of a waistline. Can't say I'm exactly crazy about any of these old age indicators but I accept them with grace. And now I've lived long enough now that I ponder on a lot of things, new and old.

Thursday, June 22, 2017


Image copyright protected by Patricia Montgomery
Honeysuckle Blossom Jelly

What You Will Need

4 cups honeysuckle blossoms
4 cups boiling water
2 TBSP lemon juice
1 1/2 boxes of powdered pectin
4 1/2 cups sugar
7 one-half-pint jelly jars, lids, and rings (clean and sterilized)

How to Make the Jelly

Gently pull the tiny green butts off each blossom and discard any leaves, trash, etc. until you have a generous 4 cups of blossoms.

Bring 4 cups water to boiling.
Dump 4 cups honeysuckle blossoms into boiling water.
Turn off heat.
Cover and steep for 2 hours.
Stir a few times during the 2-hour steeping period.
NOTE: At this point it is not going to smell good.  But trust me that it will be okay!  Keep going!!  It will smell sweet before you are done.
Strain the blossom tea (infusion) through a colander lined with cheesecloth.  When most of the liquid has drained, pull up the ends of cheesecloth and use your hands to squeeze the flowers into a ball to release the rest of the nectar.  Discard blossoms.  If you have any tiny pieces of blossom trash in your mixture, strain again until the liquid is clear.

Not time yet for the good smell but it is coming during the next final process!

Have your jars ready and sitting in some medium to hot water.  Have everything you will need ready and close by.  Once you reach this point, you will need to stir constantly and work fast so that the jelly does not set up in your pot.

Pour about 3 1/2 cups of your tea into a pot and set your stove burner to med/high. 
Add 2 TBSP of lemon juice and 1 1/2 boxes of powdered pectin.
Stir constantly until it comes to a full boil.
At the full boil dump 4 1/2 cups of sugar in all at once and continue to stir constantly. 
When it reaches a full roiling boil that cannot be stirred down, let it boil for one full minute longer.  
Remove from heat.  Using a spoon, remove the foam from the top of the mixture.

Quickly ladle or pour jelly into the hot jars.
When pouring in your jelly, leave about a 1/4 inch of head space in your jars.
IMPORTANT:  Be sure to wipe tops of the jars clean before putting on the lid and rings.

Once capped immediately turn jars upside down on a clean towel on the counter for about 10 minutes.  After the 10 minutes is up, flip them right side up and listen for the plinking and popping to start.  This is an old fashioned method and while upside down the hot jelly juice will help seal and sterilize the lids.  This is the method used by our grandmothers and their grandmothers before them.

Give your jars a full 24 hours to cool.  Then enjoy that amazing deliciousness on a hot biscuit or toast!  My favorite is to spread Laughing Cow cheese on the toast first and top with the Honeysuckle Blossom jelly.  Ahhhh-mazing flavor!  Please comment and let me know how you liked it!

Do’s Don’ts and Tips

Alternate sealing method:  If it would make you feel better, you can do a hot water bath.  See instructions below.  

If a jar does not seal (lid should not move up or down when tapped with your finger or a spoon), then put that one in the fridge and eat it first!

One Batch at a Time.  Don’t try to double the batch as jellies can be persnickety.  If you want more, plan on making separate batches.

Ready Your Jars and Lids Before Hand
Be sure to have your jars and lids clean and ready before you start cooking your jelly, you can submerge them in a big pot of gently simmering water for just a few minutes before you start your jelly adventure, and pull them out when you’re ready to fill them. You can also run them through your dishwasher with the high heat setting beforehand. Place the lids in a smaller pot and simmer until just before you’re ready to cap the jars. 

Hot Water Bath:  If you want the jars to be shelf stable for a long amount of time, do a water bath. Set your jars on a rack in a deep pot of pre-warmed water. If you do not have a rack, you can tie together some extra jar bands (rings) and gently place your jars on top. Be sure the water is at least 1 inch over the tops of your jars. Let it come to a gentle boil for ten minutes then turn off the heat. 

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