Turk’s Cap Jelly

Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus var.drummondii,  Drummond Wax-Mallow, Texas Mallow, Mexican Apple, Red Mallow, Wild Turk’s Cap, Bleeding Heart, Malva de Cera)

Turk’s Cap Jelly is definitely a jelly that few people have heard of, let alone eaten. I only found one recipe for this jelly so I invented my own. Turk’s Cap has red flowers that don’t fully open. The plant grows in the sun or shade but you will mostly find it growing wild in the shade, at least in South and Central Texas. It has been planted extensively as a landscape plant. Additionally, it can be found growing eastward from Texas to Florida. It is also found in Mexico and Cuba. The entire plant is edible, from its leaves, stems, to its fruits. However, one of its limiting factors as a jelly making plant is that seldom will you find enough fruit at one sitting to make jelly. Instead , since it fruits all summer, you will need to gather it a little at a time. You then freeze the fruit simply by putting it in a zip-lock bag in the freezer. Although it will produce flowers and some fruit all summer it fruits heaviest in the late fall. When you have eight cups of the fruit gathered you will water to wash the fruit, minus any green coverings, and cover with at least five cups of water. After cooking the fruit for 15 minutes you can begin crushing the red berries with a potato masher. Let it cook for another 10 minutes, mashing all the while. Then pour the water into a container.  If you have at least 4 cups of juice you are ready for the next steps. If you are lacking juice you can add additional water to the mashed berries and cook again for 15 minutes. Then you can run the juice through cheese cloth. I tried running the fruit through a food mill but it is so dry a fruit there was hardly any more juice produced by this method. The four cups of juice, along with 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 3 cups of sugar is brought to a boil. Several drops of red food coloring are added. Then 4 tablespoons of no sugar need pectin is added boiling for a minute and a half. Let it cool slightly then pour into freezer containers. When the jelly is firm and cool you can then cover and place it in the freezer. I asked everyone who tasted this jelly to tell me what it tasted like and I got various answers from apple, strawberry, to grape. Definitely everyone who tasted Turk’s Cap Jelly liked it and asked for seconds.

Turk’s Cap Jelly Ingredients

4 cups of Turk’s Cap juice

1/4 cup lemon juice

4 tablespoons no sugar needed pectin

3 cups sugar

2-3 drops of red food coloring


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6 Responses to Turk’s Cap Jelly

  1. Brenda Lee A says:

    You put the jelly into the freezer. Can you cann this, So it will last longer??

    • Brenda- I like to err on the side of caution with my jelly recipes. While I have seen several recipes for Turk’s Cap Jelly that were canned, I saw no evidence that they were researched for their acidity. I would not feel comfortable recommending a Turk’s Cap Jelly recipe because of that. My recipe is for freezing so I don’t have the same concern with that process. Again, the proper acidity and sugar content is very important when canning but is not important in freezing.

  2. Nancy Witko says:

    We have a tree growing and eat the flowers. My question to you is when I make your jelly and freeve it, how long does it take to thaw before eating?

    • Nancy- Since the jelly has sugar as one of the main ingredients it does not take as long to defrost. It would depend on how large a container of jelly you have. I like to put my jellies in small plastic containers so I don’t have to defrost a lot at any one time. If you are making jelly from the Turk’s Cap (which are fruiting right now) it will take lots of Turk’s Cap plants to produce enough fruit. I freeze the fruit until I get enough. Enjoy.

  3. Carolyn Collins says:

    May I use your Turk’s Cap jelly recipe and photos in the garden page of our local paper? I would give full credit to your blog.

    • Carlolyn- Thank you for asking. As long as you give full credit, certainly. I enjoy spreading the word about jelly making in general, and even more so with my emphasis on Texas jelly making. Where is you home town?

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