We have all seen the incredibly vibrant fireweed that seemingly grows everywhere. From along the roadside, to up in the backcountry, this plentiful ‘weed’ is amazing for the forager. Sustainable and renewable are key to living off the landscape.
Fast to pick, and fun for the whole family- the colour and flavours that pop from this tasty treat is sure to keep you coming back year after year.
A helpful tip that makes picking fast- Strip the flowers and buds from the stalks by running the stalk through your fingers. Once you get the hang of it, it is super easy.
I don’t wash the flowers and buds- but I do keep the bucket outside for an hour or so to give the ‘hitchhikers’ time to escape.
RECIPE Fireweed Jelly Makes roughly 3 ½ cups of jelly.
8 cups firmly packed fireweed flowers and buds
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 package (57g) powdered pectin- do not use liquid pectin
3 cups white sugar
½ teaspoon butter
Instructions Put the fireweed flowers and buds into a large pot and add enough water to JUST cover. You will be able to add more water after.
Bring the goodies to a boil and let it go until the colour is gone from the flowers and they look almost ‘grey’.
Strain the liquid through two layers of cheesecloth, and twist to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. It might look brown or dark, but do not despair! That will change.
Add as much fresh water as needed to bring the amount to 2 ½ cups of ‘juice’.
In a clean pot, add the lemon juice, butter, and pectin to the juice.
Bring to a full boil and boil hard for 60 seconds. This is important to get the pectin to ‘activate’. Add the sugar and boil hard for another 60 seconds, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and pour into hot sterile jars and process with snap lids in boiling water for 5 minutes.
Once processed, remove carefully, and set on the counter. The satisfying sounds of the jars popping as they seal will happen as they cool.
The vibrant pink you are waiting for will appear as it sets- up to 24 hours.
Make sure you do a double batch, as this is something your friends will want to try.