Mature fireweed flowers and plump, freshly harvested raspberries make the perfect pair in this fun jelly recipe.
Both fireweed and raspberries are equally beautiful and seasonal in Alaska, and when you bring them together in a jelly, they create a hybrid color that looks like a delicious rare gem stone.
As I experimented with quantities, I realized that I added significantly more fireweed than raspberry.
Feel free to play with the combinations yourself, but this is exactly what I did, if you wanted to replicate my fireweed raspberry jelly.
Harvesting Fireweed Flowers & Raspberries
Fireweed is a local Alaska plant that blooms bright pink flowers in late summer.
It’s a wild flower that grows all over the state and is easy to identify because of its tall, lean single-stalk and layers of pink flowers that continue to bloom as the season progresses.
When you’re harvesting fireweed for tea or jelly, you just pick the open flowers.
Avoid any plants or petals that are covered in bugs, and remember to harvest respectfully, leaving some flowers for the bees!
After harvesting wild fireweed flowers, I picked a dish of raspberries from the raspberry plants in my yard. If you’re not very familiar with how to identify or pick ripe raspberries, here’s a brief video tutorial.
Fireweed Raspberry Jelly Recipe
- 9 cups fireweed flowers
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
- 6 cups water
- juice of 1 freshly squeezed lemon (medium-sized)
- 5 cups raw sugar
- 2 boxes Sure Jell pectin (1.75oz containers)
Step 1 – Boil everything (except Sure Jell & sugar)
Add everything to a big pot – your fireweed, raspberries, water and lemon juice.
Boil the mixture uncovered for about 15 minutes, using a spoon or spatula to mush up the raspberries and extract their juice.
This is the prettiest part of the recipe.
Step 2 – Strain
When you’re making a jelly, you start by making a strained juice.
Once you’re done boiling the initial mixture and all of the flavor has seeped into the water, creating the jelly juice, you’ll use some sort of way to strain the fireweed and raspberries out.
The goal is to end up with a smooth, pure juice, otherwise your jelly will be chunky with cooked flowers.
There are plenty of ways to strain a juice mixture, like a colander or cheese cloth, and you can compost the now-flavorless boiled flower/berry mash.
Step 3 – Add Sure Jell & sugar
Now that you’ve got a flavor-rich but debris-free juice, pour the juice back into your pot and turn the heat back on.
Stir in 2 full, 1.75oz packages of Sure Jell pectin and the 5 cups of raw sugar.
Step 4 – Boil, then portion into jars & process
Bring the pot to a boil for about 10 minutes, then take it off heat and pour the hot liquid into glass jars.
Wipe off the mouth of the jars so there isn’t any sticky jelly residue that might prevent the lids from sealing, then add your lids and rings on the jars.
Process the jars immediately in a hot water bath for 15 minutes, making sure the jars are totally covered in water while they’re boiling.
When you’re pouring the jelly mixture into your jars, it’s still going to be a molten hot liquid.
The texture won’t resemble jelly until after the jars are done processing and have time to fully cool, so you’ll probably need to wait a day to eat it. But once it has cooled and solidified, it’s amazing on whole-grain toast. :)
I’m especially looking forward to enjoying a jar of fireweed raspberry jelly this winter, as a lovely reminder of summertime in Alaska. :)