I've given it a ton of thought. Analyzed and researched, studied and searched, and Queen Anne's Lace is officially my favorite bloom. If I had to be surrounded by one flower for the rest of my life, it would be these creamy and bursting with life blossoms. I love the way they dance in the wind so gently and subtly. I love their fresh, soft aroma of carrot. I love their tone of green and their fern-like leaf. Their long stem and their heart opening type floral top. This summer, the girls and I made a triple batch of Queen Anne's Lace jelly. It's a recipe in my upcoming cookbook called Lace Jelly, which is thicker than jam and although there's a quite a bit of sugar in it, the sweetness goes a long way on a toasted piece of bread or given off to another home. It was 64 degrees and rainy on the day we gathered up the Queen Anne's Lace. The process took me at least three, if not four times longer than it would've if I was working alone, but the girls and I had such a beautiful afternoon turned evening making messes together in the kitchen. One of my favorite things to do with them. Clean kitchens bore me these days, although I accidentally left lemon peels on my counters for too long (yikes) so now we are left with a few tangible memories from our day together, sealed right into the marble counter. Oh well, can't win them all. I'll be happily forced to revisit this day together now whenever I clean the counters.
6 cups tightly pressed Queen Anne's Lace Flowers
12 cups water
1 cup fresh lemon juice
9 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
Before harvesting, do your research. Be absolutely sure of your identification as Queen Anne's Lace is wildly similar to Poison Hemlock. Take your time to identify each bloom, stem, and leaf and never assume anything. Once you have foraged safely, gather and bring home to snip the flower heads. The roots and leaves are also edible, but this recipe is focused on the flowers! Bring the water to a boil then turn off heat. Steep the flowers, like a tea for at least 30 minutes. Strain. Add in sugar, lemon, and pectin and stir constantly over a boil. Transfer into another pot for small batch boils. Bringing to a roaring boil for around a minute each. Sterilize your glass jars and lids! Pour contents into glass jars with 1/4" headspace. Place on the lids, soak and process in hot water for 5 minutes to seal. Enjoy, store, or give away. The flavor is earth meets a hint of sweet and one of my absolute seasonal favorites!
For specific foraging guidelines and resources, be sure to visit your local library, your city's state park centers, or trusted online or in print recommendations. A favorite online resource of mine is Edible Wild Food and visually listed below are some of my favorite in print recommendations!