I first got the idea for making sunflower jelly whilst I was pondering the happy row of flowers in my garden and wondering what other uses I could extract from them besides the seed.
I remembered reading that the petals were edible and could be sprinkled in salads. During further research, I read that Native Americans used a decoction from the head for respiratory ailments. Whether this is completely true or not, I have no idea, plus I already have a zillion concoctions made up for respiratory ailments – which we hardly ever get anyway!
Then I thought: Jelly! (Okay, actually first I thought: Soap!) (I did end up making a soap – the recipe can be found HERE.)
The only problem was, I got on the internet and couldn’t find a recipe, though I did find one place that sold it.
I wrote my brother (who makes unusual jellies from things such as coffee and wisteria blossoms) to find out if he had heard of sunflower jelly. He hadn’t. Still determined, I figured I’d have to come up with my own recipe. I tasted a petal and decided that it reminded me of eating a very mild piece of lettuce. If I was going to make a jelly from just the petals, it would probably be very…. bland. So, I decided to jazz it up with some lemon.
I based my first batch off of my violet jelly recipe. I would think that if you have a favorite flower petal jelly recipe, you could interchange sunflower petals in it also. This particular recipe yielded enough for four 8 oz. jelly jars, with a small amount left over (for sampling!) Don’t forget to fill up any empty spaces in your canner with jars of water to save for emergency preparedness!
I was very pleased with the outcome and every single member of my family liked it. (Which is saying something!)
- 1 1/2 cups of sunflower petals
- 2 1/2 cups of boiling water
- zest of one lemon
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about two medium-small lemons)
- 3 1/2 cups sugar (If you like ‘sweeter’, up it to 4 cups.)
- 1 box of Sure-Jell
Pour the boiling water over the sunflower petals and lemon zest. Cover your jar/pitcher with a saucer and let steep for about an hour or two before straining.
Proceed as per your Sure-Jell directions for making cooked jelly: Pour sunflower “juice”and lemon juice into pot. Measure sugar, but don’t add yet – set aside until needed. Stir Sure-Jell into the lemon/sunflower mixture and bring to a full boil. Stir in sugar quickly then return to full boil and boil one minute. Remove from heat.
Ladle quickly into prepared jars, wipe rims with a damp cloth, cover with lid & screwbands, place in water bath canner (making sure water covers jars by a couple of inches) & process for 5 minutes.
These are very abbreviated directions, for those who have water bath canned before. If you are new to jelly-making, be sure to refer to the instructions that came with your pectin and a good site such as this one by Ball for further information before starting this this project!
You may like these other Jelly & Jam Recipes: