Mr. M and I have several collections of flowers, such as roses and plumerias. Although most people associate the plumeria, or frangipani, flower with Hawaii, they are actually indigenous to Mexico. The plants were originally taken to Hawaii by Mexican workers. In Hawaii they are sometimes called Cemetery plants because they were planted in cemeteries to mask any offensive odors. Now they are popular for making fragrant Hawaiian necklaces, called leis.
Plumeria grow excellently here in Baja. Although they are leafless and dormant during our “winter”, then they spring to life when the weather warms up. When they bloom they are so fragrant! We have several colors and each seems to have a distinct fragrance.
I love the smell so much that I decided to try my hand at making some Plumeria Jelly, in hopes that I could capture some of that delicious fragrance to put on my toast. Of course, I could not find a recipe for Plumeria Jelly so I decided to adapt a recipe for Rose Petal Jelly. Here is what I did:
I gathered a colander full of pink and white plumeria blossoms one early morning. I guess I had about a quart. I snipped the green base off of each petal because I know that the plant has liquid latex like sap.
I stuffed them into an old, sterilized pickle jar. I added boiling water to cover the flowers and let them steep for thirty minutes.
After a half of an hour they looked pretty soggy and their color had transferred to the water making a fragrant infusion.
I strained the water off and I had some pretty sorry looking flowers and some cloudy, grayish pink infusion.
When I added the lemon juice, something surprising happened: the color became brighter and clearer:
This is what I used to make my jelly. It came out a lovely pink color with a perfumed flavor.
Here is my basic recipe:
Approximately one quart of prepared Plumeria blossoms, green bases removed
3 cups of water, boiling
2 ½ cups of sugar
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 ounces liquid pectin
Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan; remove from heat. Add petals; cover, and steep 30 minutes. Strain liquid into clean saucepan. Discard petals
Add sugar and lemon juice to pan. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring, over medium-high heat. Boil 2 minutes; add pectin, and boil 2 minutes (for firmer jelly, boil up to 2 minutes more). Remove from the heat. Pour into sterilized jars, and let cool completely. Process in a boiling water bath for long storage, or keep in the refrigerator to use up quickly.
Since this recipe is an adaptation of a recipe for rose petal jelly, I imagine that almost any eatable flower or herb leaf could be substituted for the plumeria blossoms. I wonder if it would work with citrus blossoms. I love the way they smell too!