This is one of those regional recipes – if you live in the south-eastern USA, you know exactly what kudzu is. If you don’t…. well, it’s this big invasive green vine that grows everywhere down here!
Where I’m at, in Virginia, the plant is just starting to flower and will do so until September. We are ‘blessed’ with a large amount of kudzu on parts of the trail going down to our creek. When the flowers are at their peak, a most heavenly smell fills the air… it’s very much like grape, with a subtle floral note.
Last year, my brother used some of the flowers to make jelly. Everyone in my family kept telling me, “Oh, that’s the best jelly ever!” Unfortunately, the jars all got handed out before I could taste for myself.
Well, finally, this year, I was able to make and taste kudzu jelly and I’ve got to say, it IS delicious! I think that it tastes very much like a mild grape jelly.
There’s a standard recipe floating around the internet that I used, sorta. I had low-sugar pectin on hand and felt that 5 cups was an awful lot of sugar, so reduced it to 3 cups. (Don’t try that with regular pectin.) It had a bit of a soft set, but still firm enough to call jelly. I’m happy with it! Make sure your kudzu is from an unsprayed area – in spite of their ineffectiveness, our local Department of Transportation is quite fond of spraying chemicals all over anything green on our roadsides.
- 4 cups of kudzu blossoms (flower only)
- 4 cups boiling water
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 1 package of powdered pectin (I used low-sugar pectin)
- 5 cups of sugar (I used 3 cups WITH low-sugar pectin)
Pour the boiling water over the kudzu flowers, cover, and let steep in your refrigerator for around 6 to 8 hours. Strain and discard the flowers, reserving the “juice” for jelly-making. Make according to your pectin’s directions for cooked jelly. (If in doubt, follow the recipe they have for grape juice, just adding the lemon juice to it, and you shouldn’t go wrong.) Process in a water bath canner for 5 minutes. (I did for 8 minutes, because I read that recommended time on one site and I’m OCD enough to do that, just in case.)
My half-wild, outdoor kitty, Rascal, often loves to hop in the shot while I’m trying to take photos for my posts. Today, was no exception! And since I think he’s the prettiest kitty ever and since I hate to create a post with just one picture, I just have to post this photograph of him. :)