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How to Make Fireweed Syrup (or Any Flower-Infused Syrup)

Updated on August 4, 2017

Fireweed Syrup Is Beautiful and Delicious

A Beautiful Fireweed Blossom

In Alaska, it is said that summer is almost over when the tops of the fireweed blossom.
In Alaska, it is said that summer is almost over when the tops of the fireweed blossom.

This Recipe Is Great for Any Flower-Infused Syrup

Although this recipe is about fireweed, it may not be available where you live. In that case, you could substitute other edible blossoms, such as pansies, violets, or hibiscus. (Always make sure a blossom is edible before eating or using it in cooking!)

Fireweed is prolific in many states, Canada, and Eurasia. It is even the national flower of Russia. It is named for its ability to spread quickly over recently burned areas of land.
Fireweed is prolific in many states, Canada, and Eurasia. It is even the national flower of Russia. It is named for its ability to spread quickly over recently burned areas of land.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of tightly packed fireweed blossoms
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • Food preservation jars

If You Want to Use Sugar as a Sweetener, You'll Need:

  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice

If You Want to Use Honey as a Sweetener, You'll Need:

  • Equal parts fireweed "juice" and honey (so, if you have 1 cup of the fireweed boiled water, you'll want 1 cup of honey.)

Instrcutions

  1. Gather the Flowers: You will need a lot of blossoms, so cut at least a grocery bag full of the tops of the plants. Watch for bees; they love these!
  2. Trim the Blossoms Off: Now for the tedious part: pulling off the blossoms. You only want the blossoms, not stems or leaves because they have a bitter taste. You'll most likely want to do this outside because it can get messy, and there will probably be little bugs clinging on. You can choose to keep the stamens on or not. I've done it both ways and enjoyed them both.
  3. Make the Juice: Bring 2 1/4 cups water to a boil. Toss 1 1/2 cups of tightly packed fireweed blossoms into the boil, and continue boiling until the color is gone from the blossoms. Use a strainer and cheesecloth to strain the liquid into a bowl. This will separate the plant parts from the juice, as well as any little bugs still hanging on. I was curious as to how the juice would taste at this point. Bitter! I would compare it to unsweetened strong black tea. The final, sweetened syrup tastes not unlike a sweetened herbal tea.
  4. Use Sugar to Sweeten It: Skip to step five if you want to use honey to sweeten it instead. Put 3 1/2 cups sugar and 1 3/4 cups fireweed juice into a medium to large pot and stir. Add 2 T lemon juice. You could decrease the amount of sugar to about 2 cups or to your liking. Your syrup will have a thinner consistency if you reduce the amount of sugar. Bring mixture to a rolling boil. Continue boiling and stirring for 10 minutes. Don't walk away; it may boil over!
  5. Use Honey as a Sweetener: Put equal amounts of juice and honey into a pot. Bring mixture to a boil, and continue boiling and stirring for 10 minutes. Honey will cause the syrup to have a thinner consistency than using sugar.
  6. Jar It: Fill your sterilized jars up to within 1/2 inch of the top. Wipe the rims and sterilized lids dry; place lids on top, and tighten with jar rings. Turn the jars upside down for 5 minutes, and then turn right-side up. This will cause them to seal within a short time. Some people prefer to seal with paraffin or boil in a canner for 10 minutes more, but I've never had a problem with them sealing using the upside down method. Skip step 5 if you used sugar.
  7. Enjoy! You're all done.

Step One: Gather Your Blossoms

  1. You will need a lot of blossoms, so cut at least a grocery bag full of the tops of the plants. Watch for bees; they love these!

Step Two: Processing the Blossoms

There are actually more blossoms in this bowl than it seems!
There are actually more blossoms in this bowl than it seems!
My little buddy in a fireweed pollen induced stupor!
My little buddy in a fireweed pollen induced stupor!
  1. Now for the tedious part: pulling off the blossoms. You only want the blossoms, not the stems or leaves because they have a bitter taste. You'll most likely want to do this outside because it can get messy, and there will probably be little bugs clinging on.

Note: You can choose to either remove the stamens or not. I have made this recipe both ways (with removing them and without removing them). I liked it both times! When I left the stamens intact, the finished liquid's color was a bit more amber than purple. That was the biggest difference that I noticed.

Step Three: Making the Juice

Aim for This Color

Strain the Juice

Straining the juice.
Straining the juice.

Here's the Juice

The juice may be a brown to purple color.
The juice may be a brown to purple color.
  1. Bring 2 1/4 cups water to a boil.
  2. Toss 1 1/2 cups of tightly packed fireweed blossoms into the boil, and continue boiling until the color is gone from the blossoms.
  3. Use a strainer and cheesecloth to strain the liquid into a bowl. This will separate the plant parts from the juice, as well as any little bugs still hanging on.

I was curious as to how the juice would taste at this point. Bitter! I would compare it to unsweetened strong black tea. The final, sweetened syrup tastes not unlike a sweetened herbal tea.

Step Four and/or Five: Sweeten It Up

In the past, I have only made the syrup using sugar. I wanted to try using honey this year. A few of my batches using honey came out a light brown. I'm inclined to believe that was caused not by the honey, since other batches were purple, but to the stamens on the flowers themselves. In one particular area where I gathered, the stamens were full of dark brown pollen which I did not remove. Even so, the syrup was still delicious.

Step Four - Using Sugar: Skip to step five if you want to use honey to sweeten it instead.

  1. Put 3 1/2 cups sugar and 1 3/4 cups fireweed juice into a medium to large pot and stir. You could decrease the amount of sugar to about 2 cups or to your liking. Your syrup will have a thinner consistency if you reduce the amount of sugar.
  2. Add 2 T lemon juice.
  3. Bring mixture to a rolling boil.
  4. Continue boiling and stirring for 10 minutes. Don't walk away; it may boil over!

Step Five - Use Honey:

  1. Put equal amounts of juice and honey into a pot.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil, and continue boiling and stirring for 10 minutes. Honey will cause the syrup to have a thinner consistency than using sugar.

Step Six: Jarring Your Juice

After 5 Minutes of Being Upside Down, They're Good to Go.

So Many Uses, and You Could Make Jelly Too

You can make fireweed jelly with this recipe by adding pectin and letting it boil longer. But we seldom eat jelly. We find the syrup is more versatile. It is heaven on pancakes or waffles, but what else?

  • How about in milk? Yum!
  • Vanilla ice cream? Yum, yum!!
  • What if I added it to the carbonated water I make with our Soda Stream? Take a half liter of carbonated water (or you could use club soda), add about 1/4 cup of the syrup, and gently shake it to mix. What a lovely taste! Just enough flavor to give it a little pizzazz. I'm sure this only cracks the surface of this syrup's potential.
  • Use it as a filling for cakes or chocolates.
  • Drizzle over salmon or ham or fruit salad.
  • Use as a glaze on barbecued ribs or chicken.

I'm sure there are many more creative uses for this beautiful and delicious syrup!

Look at That Beautiful Hue!

Sweeten Up Some Milk

Use It to Flavor Water or Seltzer

Use It on Ice Cream

How Did You Like It?

3.7 stars from 3 ratings of Fireweed Syrup

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    • mycheesegrits profile image
      Author

      Sheila McCleary 19 months ago from Georgia

      Yes! And so much of it is available. The tedious part is plucking the blossoms but I think it's worth it. The beautiful color and the light, floral taste make it a unique gift, too!

    • profile image

      Tulin 19 months ago

      Never knew you could do this with Fireweed!

    • hari87 profile image

      K HARISH RAMACHANDRAN 19 months ago from INDIA

      Thanks a lot for the tips

    • mycheesegrits profile image
      Author

      Sheila McCleary 4 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks - and it is!

    • Ceres Schwarz profile image

      Ceres Schwarz 4 years ago

      Interesting hub. The images help to show the process of how to make this Fireweed syrup. It looks really good.