What a beautiful Spring day today! Nothing like a wonderful day to get me thinking of making jelly. I saw all the redbuds all over town blooming so I knew it was time to head out and pick some redbud flowers for jelly. Armed with a gallon ziplock bag I headed to a location with multiple Texas redbud trees. Such a pretty pink/red/purple color. Everywhere I looked I saw redbud trees. For those who want to make redbud jelly be aware that there are trees blooming at this time of year that have a resemblance to redbuds. In particular the Mexican buckeye has pink flowers also. However, the emerging leaves on a redbud are somewhat heart shaped while the Mexican buckeye leaves are palmate (the leaves fan out like your fingers on your hand). Many of the redbud trees have no leaves yet so you might want to find ones with the leaves so that you can compare them with the leaves on the Mexican buckeye. I found that if I pick a straight branch with no leaves I can simply pull my hands down the branch and slide the flowers off into the baggy. A gallon bag will give you enough flowers (8 cups) for 2 recipes of Redbud Jelly.
After getting the flowers home I made sure there were no bugs, sticks, or leaves in with the flowers. I then rinsed the flowers. Meantime I set water to boil in the microwave. I poured 8 cups of boiling water over the flowers in a large pot. I then weighted the flowers down with a small glass lid so that the flowers stay submerged in the water. After they cool I will put the container in the refrigerator over night. Tomorrow I will strain out the flowers and use the infusion to make jelly. I will share the recipe with you tomorrow and let you know how it went.
While I was out gathering the flower buds I noticed several other jelly making plants of interest. Pyracantha still had the berries on so one could make jelly even now from the fruit. The same was true of evergreen sumac berries. Agarita bushes (shown at left) were starting to show their flowers so I mentally marked where I could return to find the berries in early May. Mexican Plum trees are flowering so now is the time to find them. I also spotted what appear to be crab apple trees. I will return to see what their fruit look like.