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Fireweed Syrup Recipe: How to Make Flower-Infused Syrup

Like everyone else, I wear many hats. I love recipes that make use of natural ingredients.

Fireweed Syrup: Look at That Beautiful Hue!

Fireweed Syrup: Look at That Beautiful Hue!

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.

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.)
Fireweed Syrup Is Beautiful and Delicious

Fireweed Syrup Is Beautiful and Delicious

Instructions

  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 1: Gather Your Blossoms

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 2: Processing the Blossoms

  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 3: Making the Juice

  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.

when-your-jelly-fails-to-gel-featuring-fireweed

Step 4 or 5: 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 4: 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 5: Using 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 6: 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!

How Did You Like It?

Questions & Answers

Question: I made one batch of fireweed syrup with sugar, and it turned out beautifully. The second batch (I made it the same way) did not turn syrupy; it stayed watery instead. Any ideas?

Answer: Well, if all the measurements and cooking times were the same, I really don't know. Refrigerating it usually helps thicken it up if you haven't already done that.

Question: How do you use fireweed nectar as a cake filling? Do you know of a recipe?

Answer: Since the syrup is not as thick as a fruit syrup, it is a judgment call as to how much cornstarch to use. I start off with a cup of the syrup. Then I mix 2 Tbsp cornstarch with the 2 Tbsp of warm water. Bring the syrup to a boil and add the cornstarch mixture, constantly stirring for about 3 minutes. If it is not thick enough, add a bit more cornstarch/water. It will thicken a bit more when it cools off and is refrigerated.

Another thing you could try - although it’s not a filling - would be to poke holes in the cake and drizzle some syrup over it, similar to a Tres Leches cake. I’ve also mixed a small amount with white icing. You could probably make a curd from it as well, but I haven’t tried that. I would try a curd recipe with egg whites first because the yolks would change the color.

Comments

Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on August 02, 2020:

Hi Paula! I hope it turns out well for you! I haven't gotten around to making any this year but I need to get out and pick them before they're finished for the season. Have been making more salmonberry syrup.Thank you for reading and commenting!

Paula Ray on August 02, 2020:

I live in Eagle River, Alaska. My husband and I collect fireweed every year to make jelly. Fireweed jelly is his favorite. We picked so many fireweed blossoms yesterday. I thought I would try this fireweed syrup recipe Thanks

Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on January 18, 2016:

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!

Tulin on January 18, 2016:

Never knew you could do this with Fireweed!

K HARISH RAMACHANDRAN from INDIA on January 18, 2016:

Thanks a lot for the tips

Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on July 18, 2013:

Thanks - and it is!

Ceres Schwarz on July 18, 2013:

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