Along the Grapevine


12 Comments

Apple and Goldenrod Jelly

DSC02529

This is the last of my series of three goldenrod recipes. The stuff is still blooming everywhere I look, and it is tempting to keep picking, but I’ll just settle for lots of ‘tea’ to help ward off allergies for the rest of the season. There are just too many other fun things out there to experiment with, and time is running out as the days and mostly nights get markedly colder.

This jelly is very simple really – just apple jelly using goldenrod tea in place of water. Simple as it is, the flavour is distinctively herbal and delicious variation.

DSC02533

You could follow any apple jelly recipe such as this one and use the goldenrod tea as liquid. For mine, I had three pounds of tart apples picked from a local tree. I covered it with the goldenrod liquid, cooked it until the apples were good and soft. Then I strained it through a jelly bag (or several layers of cheesecloth) overnight and discarded the pulp. For four cups of liquid, I added three of sugar and one-half package of pectin. Because the apples already have pectin, I didn’t need much, but the pectin meant I could get away with using less sugar.

DSC02527

I cooked the apple, goldenrod and sugar until it came to a full boil and the sugar was dissolved, added the pectin and cooked a further minute, then bottled. I didn’t use the canning process for it because I’m not sure if there was enough sugar or acid content, so I just froze the extra. I prefer to have a less sweet jelly even if it does mean having to store it in the freezer.

DSC02574

I was hoping for a golden colour to match the flavour, but am otherwise happy with this unusual and very seasonal recipe. Here I served it on an English muffin with semi-clotted cream, but I’ll save that for another post when I have perfected the process.

Linked to Fiesta Friday #86.

Related Links: Goldenrod Tea; Goldenrod Highball


15 Comments

Goldenrod Tea

DSC02451

This beautiful and, yes, edible goldenrod (soldiago) is in full bloom just now and has transformed our local landscape into a mass of golden colour. Unfortunately it is often confused with another plant which is also plentiful just now – ragweed. You can see from these two photographs the differences in the plants. Both are in bloom. One is bright, the other relatively colourless. Also, the leaves on the first are elongated ovals while the second has lobed leaves.

DSC02510

Ragweed is the source of much discomfort for people who are allergic to its pollen. Because the two plants occur in the same places at the same time, goldenrod is assumed to be equally noxious. It is not. The difference between the two, other than their appearance, is that ragweed has a light and abundant pollen which is easily carried through the air. Goldenrod, which has a heavy and sticky pollen, is pollenated by insects. So if you suffer from hay fever at this time of year, you know which one to blame it on. My advice is to eradicate as much of the ragweed as you can.

Not only is goldenrod not a noxious weed, it has many health benefits, one of which according to much of the literature I have been reading (for example this article) is its ability to counter the effects of allergies.

Once identified, goldenrod is easy to harvest. No worries about over harvesting this robust perennial, and the blooming period is relatively long in this area – from late August until the first frosts. Pick only the top third of the plant, and preferably young flowers which have not fully opened or are still bright yellow. Leaves and flowers can both be used. Just watch for insects – the pollinators love the stuff.

DSC02454

When I first try a new plant, I always prefer a simple recipe to test the flavour, so here is yet another herbal tea. Begin by shaking any small insects out of the flowers and rinse lightly under the tap. To make, remove leaves and flowers from the stems. For each half cup of these, add two cups of boiling water and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Strain and serve.

DSC02459

The flavour is substantial, slightly bitter and a bit smokey. I advise adding some honey or sugar as a sweetener and you will have yourself a very pleasant and healthful drink.

DSC02461

This is a fine drink for any time of the day, but my experiments don’t stop with this. I feel that this flavour is capable of so much more than just a tisane, so I will be posting an ‘after five’ drink soon

Goldenrod Tea on Punk Domestics