I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly.
Not only is it beautiful and oh so fun to forage for, but the delicate floral and tart flavours in this jelly marry perfectly. Dare I say, it’s fit for a queen? We originally stumbled upon this concept through Grey County’s own queen of all things delicious: Philly Markowitz. She took a humble Ontario weed to wonderful in just a few simple steps… and now you can too!
Daucus carota. Wild carrot. Bird’s Nest. Bishop’s Lace… Queen Anne’s Lace. Whatever you call this dainty ad prolific herb, it’s distinctive carrot aroma doesn’t necessary scream “make me into a jelly!” However, when mixed with a hint of lemon, it turns a beautiful blush and exudes its floral undertones.
Right now, Grey County is carpeted with these white flowers. They have a flat-topped white umbel, sometimes with a solitary purple flower in the center. These flowers bloom from late spring until mid-fall. Each flower cluster is made up of numerous tiny white flowers. The flower cluster start out curled up and opens to allow pollination. The cluster then rolls itself shut again, like a reverse umbrella when it goes to seed at the end of the season.
- 2 cups very firmly packed Queen Anne’s Lace flowers, snipped from their stems close to the blossom
- 5 cups boiling water
- 3 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 package Sure-Jell “no sugar needed” -- it's important to not use regular pectin as it will be syrupy
- 4 1/2 tbsp. strained lemon juice
- Place the flowers in a bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Cover the bowl and allow the flowers to steep in the water for 15 minutes.
- Strain the tea.
- Measure 4 1/2 cups of the strained infusion and add it to a large non-reactive pot. Mix 1/4 cup of the sugar with the Sure-Jell, and stir it into the flower tea in the pot. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil over high heat. Immediately stir in the remaining sugar and return to a boil. Boil for exactly 1 minute, skimming the foam (impurities) that rise to the surface. Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice, and skim again if needed. It will have changed colour.
- Pour the jelly at once into sterilized jars, cover with sterilized lids, and seal.
- A little warning for you: Queen Anne’s Lace has a dangerous poisonous look-alike. Poison Hemlock has been mistaken for Queen Anne’s Lace – a deadly mistake indeed as the death of Socrates was brought on by poison hemlock! There are definite differences though. Queen Anne's lace is much smaller and the leaves smell distinctly of carrot, while hemlock smells quite unpleasant.