Recently I’ve been on a “foraging” kick. I’ve always been interested in being able to live off of nature, and while it’s pretty straightforward up around Schefferville (with the tons of wild blueberries, cranberries, tea, etc) I’d been wondering what kind of foraging I could do around here in new England. So, I found a recipe for making jelly out of clover! And since I just learned how to do my own canning last year, I figured, why not!
I’d link you to the original recipe, but it’s a bit spotty and leaves things out (which meant I was cooking blind here and there), so here’s my adapted recipe:
4 cups worth of clover blossoms
4 cups of boiling water
a little extra water
lemon or lime juice
6 cups of sugar
2 packages of liquid pectin (powdered would probably be fine too)
Eric and I took a little day trip to Niantic, CT this week and while we were walking along the beach we spotted groups of wild pink clover. We gathered up a few armloads in my sweatshirt and once home I plucked all the pink blossoms from the stems. I came up with slightly more than 4 cups of blossoms.
Over these I poured 4 cups of boiling water:
I then strained the soggy clovers through a colander lined with cloth (so no dead bugs could get through. Seriously, I found 4), pressing on the clovers so I could get all the liquid possible out of them. Save the squeezed out clover blossoms, you’ll use them later. The “clover juice” was also a gross brown colour, and again I was slightly disappointed, since I’d wanted pretty pink clover jelly.
(But I should not have been nervous.) Here I measured out my liquid into a big cooking pot to make sure I still had 4 cups worth. I had to add a teeny bit of water, since I’d lost some in the seeping process. Then, you need to add 8 tablespoons of lime or lemon juice. I actually had to squeeze my own. It took a while.
It must have been the acidity of the juice, but when I added the green lime juice to the brown clover water, it turned a cloudy smokey pink! Weird! I was happy. Here’s where those squeezed clover blossoms become handy: I plunked a bunch of the not-quite-so-brown petals to add into the liquid, to give the jelly some texture:
Then, I put the pot that the clover liquid was in onto the stove and stirred in the 2 packages of pectin. While this was heating up I added another large pot with enough water to cover my jars for sealing:
This part got a bit chaotic: Once my clover mixture started to boil I added the 6 cups of sugar and continued to constantly stir it all. It needed to be at a rolling boil for one full minute once the sugar was added, and I had a little mishap where it boiled over and sticky sweet liquid clover jelly covered the stove top. Everything turned out ok though. After then I removed it from the stove, funneled it into my hot sterile jars, screwed on the tops and sealed them in the big pot of boiling water for 5 minutes.
After cleaning up I nervously kept checking them and was getting nervous that they weren’t congealing. But I just had to be patient. By the next day they were completely sealed and congealed! And they looked amazing!! I got 9 half-pint jar fulls, and even though the bits of clover blossom suspended in the jelly sort of look like bugs or mini sea creatures, I really enjoy the effect it gives:
I popped open a jar this morning to do a taste test, and I was pleasantly surprised by the unique sweet taste! The blossom flavor is faint, but definitely there. I compare it to honey in a way, but smoother in taste.