Along the Grapevine

Peony Jelly


Here is a way to preserve the exquisite colour and scent of your peonies – a flower which graces our gardens for an all too short period in the early summer. Serve it with your favourite buttered scone, as a garnish to fruit salad or just about any other dessert. 


Freshly picked peonies

I have recently been experimenting with floral flavours from my garden as they appear – just the edible ones of which there are more than you would think. The easiest way to use them is often mixing them half and half with sugar, grinding them and allowing them to dry to be used as a sweetener. Jellies, perhaps the most obvious use, are a little more challenging. Pectin and some form or acid are necessary to get the desired consistency are necessary, but working out the ideal proportions and cooking time have proved to be a little challenging, leaving me at times with something either too thin or too thick. Also, not all pectins are made equal, so even when following a recipe the results can be disappointing.

Peony Jelly on Punk Domestics

For my first effort, I used a combination of white and red flowers – being careful to pick the ones with the best scent. I also used liquid pectin which might have been the reason that I needed a suspiciously large amount (2 packages) and long period of cooking. The result was satisfactory, the colour and flavour were better than I had hoped for, but the recipe was just too complicated and required too much cooking to share. So a second effort was called for.

This time I chose them for the colour – mostly red and some pink. I used powdered pectin, Certo pectin crystals to be exact. The cooking time was reduced by about one third and the consistency was perfect. While the white ones did give a beautiful reddish amber colour, the red and pink produced a stunning ruby colour, so if colour matters, go for the red as long as they have a good strong scent. This picture shows the difference of colour, although in photographs the contrast is not so pronounced.


Second batch on left

Peony Jelly

4 cups peony petals, tightly packed
4 cups boiling water
1/2 lemon
1/2 package certo pectin crystals
2 cups sugar

Method: Put the petals in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Use a plate on top to press them down and make sure they are all covered in water. Leave to infuse for 6 hours. Strain them through a cloth and ring tightly to get all the liquid out. Discard the petals. Pour this liquid (I had 2 cups) into a pot, add the strained juice of the half lemon, the pectin and 2 cups of sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes, until it reaches 215 degrees F or 104 C if you have a thermometer. Otherwise you can put a small spoonful on a chilled dish and and when it cools it should set. Also, it is ready when the bubbling becomes so vigorous it does not subside when you put a spoon in it.

Pour it into sterilised jars and let cool. This recipe made 6 1/4 pint jars


Petals after soaking for 6 hours in water

There are so many ways to use floral jellies. One of my favourites is to use it to sweeten tea while sometimes with fresh buttered bread or biscuits alongside tea is preferred. It also works well as a garnish.


Fruit and granola topped with plain yogurt and jelly

Linked to: Fiesta Friday #124, Love in the Kitchen and Spades, Spatulas and Spoons.

Author: Hilda

I am a backyard forager who likes to share recipes using the wild edibles of our area.

27 thoughts on “Peony Jelly

  1. I saw this post on Fiesta Fridays! So much fun for a unique twist on jelly! Thanks for sharing!


  2. I am experiencing an almost indescribable excitement from the anticipation of attempting this recipe. Alas, I must wait until next year because all of my peonies are done flowering.


    • Thanks so much for your enthusiasm. It is a problem when we are living in slightly different climates when dealing with such short lived plants, but maybe you can find some fragrant blossoms later in the season, although the majority of them are early summer or spring blooms.


  3. Wow! You do such amazing things in your kitchen!


  4. What a beautiful jelly, Hilda! Love the color. 🙂


  5. I do so look forward to seeing what you will come up with next, Hilda.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful. Love all these flower recipes. So fancy!


  7. I tried this and it’s delicious.


  8. This is just amazing, Hilda! Next year I am going to grow peonies and try it!! Very stunning! 😀


  9. What an interesting idea, Hilda.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Hilda, I’m in awe! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh my goodness, Hilda!!! This Peony Jelly is so exquisite I can’t even imagine it exists. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe. Peony is one of my favorite, now I am so glad I can preserve it, even just a little while longer 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Such an interesting concept Hilda! I was recently on an English garden tour and we were served a pink champagne “jelly” dessert one night that was out of this world in its simplicity and elegance, studded with fresh raspberries. I can’t help but think it would be so lovely to make it with your peony syrup too! As always, you inspire to think outside the box!


  13. Thanks Johanne. Pink champagne jelly sounds wonderful. I think no matter how extensive one’s culinary experience, there are always new flavours to try. Speaking of syrup, my honeysuckle syrup has been one of the most used sweeteners in my kitchen.


  14. My 3 peony’s bloomed already in February so I can make this lovely jelly recipe next year! It looks so creative & yummy! Waw! x

    Liked by 1 person

  15. If your peonies bloomed in February, all my posts must be months out of date for you. So much for being timely.


  16. Hello! My peonies are in full bloom right now. Do you think I could use this recipe as a starting point to make peony jelly candies if I used more gelatin? Or pectin? If you think (or know!) it would work, how much of either/both should I use? I’m about to try making fruit jellies for the first time and would love to have a peony flavour.


    • I like this idea. I haven’t tried making jellies myself but it should be possible with lots of gelatin which would be much more solid than pectin. Agar agar would also be a good choice. I would think if jelly candies can be made with lemon, peony should work just as well and with a beautiful colour. Do let me know how it goes if you decide to do it.


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