Yes, you read it right! Jam made of peony petals!
Last week we had a tremendous storm one night and my only-just-opened white peonies got battered and several broke off. So I brought some of the flowers into the house for a vase, and the scent was heavenly!
Then I got thinking… if you can make rose-petal jelly, why not peony? And preserve that wonderful fragrance for an autumn teatime treat…
After googling a little, I found peonies are edible, but I could only find one recipe online (on an inactive blog: imperfecturbanfarm.com).
I tried it, and this was my adapted version:
- 3 cups petals, washed and shaken dry
- 3 cups boiling water
- 3 cups jam sugar (i.e. sugar with pectin in it)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp rose water
- Jam jars for up to 650ml
Pour the boiling water over the petals and leave to steep for 6 hours. Strain through a fine muslin cloth. Add lemon juice and rose water. Heat to boiling point, add sugar and cook on a rolling boil for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Fill your sterilised jam jars to the brim, and seal.
So far so good. The verdict as I licked the spoon: exactly as I had imagined; a little rosy but with the distinct aroma of peonies. Very tasty! Sweet and tart. Flowery. Scented. June in a jar! I could imagine this on toast with some tasty cheese and ripe autumn pears…
… 24 hours later the jelly was still not set. Completely runny in fact! So I tried to rescue it by boiling it up again and adding some pectin and citric acid… A horrible mistake! It ruined the flavour! 😦
It looked so pretty, and here’s a picture of it in its runny state…
I think my best peonies are now losing their scent, so I will shelve this until next year and perhaps try again…
Or maybe someone will refine the recipe and let me know how it worked out… any jam experts out there?
P.S. I’ll be posting some tried and tested (i.e. successful!) jam recipes in a few days!