There is a week in spring when the locust bloom and the countryside is perfumed with a honey sweet aroma. Then just days later there is a cascade of flower pedal “snow” that covers the surrounding fields. Black locust was used by farmers for fence post and was often planted in fence rows and wrapped with barbed wire to hold livestock in. Old farms are a great place to find honey locust trees for foraging.
Gather the white pea-like Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) flower clusters right before or very shortly after they open for the sweetest and most fragrant results.
- Step one:
- 4 c. packed black locust flowers plus ½ c reserved for garnishing jars
- 2 c. dry white wine
- 1 c. water
- Step two:
- 2 1/2 c. black locust flower infusion
- 4 T lemon juice
- 1 box Sure-Jel pectin
- 4 c. sugar
- Boil wine and water and pour over the flowers and allow to steep overnight. Strain the flowers out through a jelly bag or cheesecloth and allow the liquid to settle. The pollen will sink to the bottom of the bowl. Pour off liquid into a quart measuring cup (approximately 3 Cups) carefully leaving any impurities behind.
- Combine the infusion, lemon juice and pectin in a large pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often.
- Add all the sugar at once and stir. Add the remaining locust flower garnish and bring back to a rolling boil for 1 minute.
- Remove the jelly from the heat and ladle into sterilized jars making sure to get a few flowers in each jar. Place lids on jars.
- Refrigerate or process by simmering in a water bath for 10 minutes if you want your jelly to be shelf-stable.
- Note: To measure your flowers remove the flowers from their green stems and pack into your measuring cup.