Sunflower Jelly

Learn how to turn sunflower petals into a beautiful and delicious lemon-flavored jelly!

woman's hand holding jar of jelly in front of sunflowers

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. There are also tons of skincare uses for them. (Recipes coming soon!)

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! and I did end up making two recipes:

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!)

Some years, I make a half batch, depending on sunflower petal supply and other sunflower projects I want to make.

I was very pleased with the outcome and every single member of my family liked it. (Which is saying something!)

sunflower petals in a glass bowl in front of fresh sunflower plants

Sunflower Jelly

  • 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 for a twangy lemon flavor (If you like ‘sweeter’ jellies, 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 the Fresh Preserving website by Ball, for further information before starting this this project!

Original post: July, 2012; Updated: August, 2020

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Jan Berry is a writer, herbalist, soapmaker, and bestselling author of The Big Book of Homemade Products, Simple & Natural Soapmaking, and Easy Homemade Melt & Pour Soaps. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains with her family and a menagerie of animals, where she enjoys brainstorming creative things to make with the flowers and weeds that grow around her.

  • Robin says:

    A friend brought me a jar of Mesquite Bean Jelly and it was so delicious I must find some beans to make it.

  • Jane says:

    Very interesting! Love it :)

    • Jan says:

      It’s quite tasty – a lot like a lemon jelly, I think. I like the color too (yellow is my favorite!) :)

  • Glo @ Off The Grid At -30 says:

    This is so cool! Would you consider sharing this on my blog hop?

  • Glo @ Off The Grid At -30 says:

    :D You made my day! Love your blog!

  • Sue says:

    I am so sad, this year my sunflowers didn’t come up. Due to sever drought our crops are not doing too good. Went out last night & had only 4 peas & no beans & looks like maybe 3 beets. So far on;y tomatoes & corn are surviving. I so want to make this but will store it for next year.

    • Jan says:

      Aw, I’m so sorry to hear that! We were out of power for 11 days during that last heat wave which meant I wasn’t able to water our garden any. The green beans were in desperate need of picking, but I had no way to keep them until I could can them so they pretty much cooked on the vine and we lost the whole bunch. My cucumber seedlings dried up… but at least the tomatoes, butter beans and peppers hung in there. We’re hoping to finish getting parts of the garden cleared out this week and replanted for a late harvest. I know we’ll be pushing it, but hopefully, we can get a few things in before frost!!

  • Rebecca Avery says:

    Love it! I let my kids choose one plant to grow every year and my oldest chose sunflowers this year. He will be so excited to help me put them up in jelly!

  • Kelly says:

    This is such an interesting jelly. It looks very pretty too.

  • Karen says:

    Wow – how creative! I can’t even imagine what this would taste like, but bet it is yummy. Thank you for sharing your idea!

    • Jan says:

      I think it tastes quite like I would imagine lemon jelly would taste, just sweeter. (I haven’t actually ever tasted lemon jelly though!) :) But, I was pleased with the end result!

  • Carol says:

    Sounds yummy and used to always have sunflowers ~~ thanks, ^_^ (A Creative Harbor)

    • Jan says:

      We like to grow sunflowers each year – I love the cheerfulness they provide! :) Thanks for stopping by!

  • Nancy says:

    That’s using your noggin’. So pretty! Thank you for sharing at Rural Thursdays.

  • Mary@Back to the Basics! says:

    No way! This is a super idea!

  • Susie Earning-My-Cape says:

    I would have never thought to make jelly with sunflower petals! When we get into growing sunflowers, I am totally trying this!
    Thanks for sharing with my Super Link Party! :-)

  • Lana says:

    This sounds wonderful and I’ll be sure to try it. I make soap for our family and would LOVE the recipe for sunflower soap.

    • Jan says:

      Hey there! I have sunflower soap on the agenda for tomorrow or Monday (pending work schedule.) I’ve never made it before, but am going to ‘invent it’ as I go, like I do all of my seasonal soaps. I plan to take a favorite basic recipe and use sunflower petals (and calendula flowers too) infused in the water, sub out some of the olive oil for sunflower oil (using the lye calculator at probably substitute a bit of palm fruit oil to give it a little sunny glow and maybe use some mango butter & calendula oil in there… maybe, just maybe might make it a bit lemony…. maybe put some lemon balm in there too…. I kind of decide on scents and what I superfat it with as I make it, as the mood strikes lol. But that’s sort of the plan so far! I’ve been anxious to make it all week long before my sunflowers fade away! Just been so busy here…. :)

  • Jenny says:

    I didn’t plant sunflowers this year as we are in the process of moving but I usually use a lot of them and have yet to give them a try at the table. I love edible flowers! I’ve pinned your recipe and will give it a try.

  • dianne says:

    This sounds awesome, and looks beautiful. Great idea! I will be making it as soon as more Sunflowers bloom. They are just starting. When we moved our house onto a piece of land, Sunflowers were popping up all over. Our yard blooms, and they provide natural privacy fences in summer and fall. We love it. When trying to think of a name for my natural skin care products, it was only natural to call it Sunflower Acres:)

    • Jan says:

      Sunflower Acres is a lovely name! :) You might want to tinker with the amount of sugar and lemon in this jelly; I think it’s good for my first stab at the recipe, but a bit on the tarter side – I may try more sugar next time!

  • Our first wedding anniversay - The Healthy Beehive says:

    […] super duperly still  LOVE my sunflowers   If only I had know of Jan’s sunflower jelly then, I could have turned my wedding flowers into jelly!!!!  Wouldn’t that have been so […]

  • Debra Campbell says:

    I made a jelly last year with Elderberry Blossoms. My husband says it tastes like honey. I’m a big fan of Elderberry for boosting the immune system.

    I grew sunflowers a few years back and now I just let the volunteers (which are now more like multi-flowered Black-eyed Susans) grow to supply pollen for bees, nectar for hummingbirds and seeds for the birds. I may have to steal some of the petals for this jelly recipe.

    • Jan says:

      Oh I LOVE elderberry too. I really want to get some to grow around my house.

      Our sunflower patch grows each year. I’d love to eventually have a field of them! I think they are so bright and happy to have around! I hope to post the recipe for sunflower soap this week – if you’re a soapmaker, you might want to check it out! :)

  • Homemade Violet Jelly The Nerdy Farm Wife says:

    […] If you like this, you may also like my recipes for Kudzu Flower Jelly and Sunflower Jelly! […]

  • Amanda says:

    I just made this recipe and it is delicious! I upped the sugar to 4 cups total. I also used the machine-free canning technique from:

    I just moved into my first home, and didn’t have time for a garden this Spring. I did plant some sunflowers for color, but I felt terrible when they started to die with no use. After some googling I found you and am very happy with the results. First home, first “harvest”, first canning. Thank you for the inspiration.

  • Jenn Rhoades says:

    I wonder if this would work with wild sunflowers????? We didn’t plant sunflowers, but they Do grow wild all around us. Anyone know? I can’t imagine a more glorious way to preserve little jars of summer sunshine!

  • Angie says:

    I would love to try this jelly. Being an herbalist I always look for a way to use plants other than medicine :)
    One question, does the jelly taste mostly like lemon or is there a actually flavor to the sunflower petals?


    • Jan says:

      Yes! I love finding new uses for them as well. :) I think the jelly has a definite lemony tone to it. The sunflower petals on their own don’t carry much flavor. They don’t taste unpleasant at all, but they just don’t have a flavor that pops out at you. I would think you could also use oranges or limes if you wanted to vary the taste. (Though the color would change as well.)

  • Leah Robinson says:

    I just made this and can’t wait to try it!!! I love sunflowers and have tons of volunteers come up each year. My husband likes to pull them up because he says the don’t belong where ever they sprout but this year I think I have him convinced that they are welcome to grow where ever they please! I thank you for this recipe and now can utilize these happy little flowers for yet another purpose! Thanks again!!

    • Jan says:

      Yay! I’m happy your sunflowers have a new life! :) Mine should be blooming soon – I want to experiment further with them!

  • Jennifer says:

    I purposely planted lots of sunflowers this year as companion plants to my garden. Finding your recipe intrigues me. I want to try my hand at your jelly. I have a couple of questions…Do the petals need to be fresh or can I take them from flowers that are starting to wilt as I cut them off? Also, can I boil the petals and then put the juice into the refrigerator or freezer for a couple of days if I can not make into jelly the same day?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Jennifer!

      I use mostly fresh petals, but supplement with some wilted as needed, to fill out the required measure. (It doesn’t take as many as you think it would, if you use large sunflowers.) You can refrigerate your flower juice for a day or two (I do that often!) I’ve not tried freezing it for jelly, though I freeze flower juice for soap all the time. (And have frozen blackberry/grape/etc juice for later jelly batches just fine.)

      I have loads of sunflowers just waiting for me to experiment with! I’d like to try to make a salve and/or lip balm with them. I also bought some sunflower wax, I’m anxious to try out just for the fun of it! :)

  • Herbs on pots says:

    I don’t have sure jell on hand what else I should use?

    • Jan says:

      Do you have any type of pectin available in local grocery stores? It doesn’t have to be the Sure-Jell brand. If so, you could follow the package’s recipe for mint or herb jelly and just use sunflower petals instead of herb. I would still add the lemon juice though, since sunflower petals aren’t acidic.

  • Carol Roper says:

    I make corn cob jelly, and was going to look up dandelion jelly, but definitely want to try sunflower jelly. Thanks for the idea. I love sunflowers!

  • Dawne says:

    Could you add directions on how to make these using homemade pectin?

  • Shannon says:

    I definitely need to try this! I live in one of those weird places where dandelions don’t grow and we are infested with sunflowers instead. Not that I’m complaining to much. It’s easier pulling sunflowers out of the garden than dandelions. :)

    • Jan says:

      Oh my, an infestation of sunflowers sounds wonderful! :) We have deer that keep eating ours, but always plant extra for them too! Sunflower petals are great in salves and shampoo bars too – lots of great uses!

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