Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Kudzu Blossom Jelly

It is that time of year again. The smell of Kudzu blossoms is everywhere, and the cheery purple flowers are hanging down like bunches of grapes. Bees are everywhere, and there is Eric, stripping kudzu blossoms with his right hand while catching them in a bowl held in his left.

The past few tries have ended up in Kudzu syrup, due to either a lack of pectin, lack of acidity, lack of sugar, or lack of skill (I think maybe all four..) This year I think it is different. I had a nice box of quality pectin, lots of sugar, and a real lemon to squeeze for juice.
This is a really small recipe- I want to make sure it works before I make liter upon liter of it. Since it is only 500 ml or so, I just used an old jam jar since the kids can eat that much jelly in an afternoon if not supervised. If you make lots and lots of it, follow proper canning proceedure and sterilize.

Here is how I did it:

  1. Collect about two cups of kudzu flower petals. You can just strip them off the flower stalk into a colander or bag as you collect them. 
  2. Wash the blossoms in cold water. I like to fill the bowl with water to the top to make the bugs float to the surface. Then I can skim them out. Bugs mean healthy kudzu, so don't freak out. I would probably freak out if there were no bugs... "OMG! Why aren't there any bugs? What is wrong with these blossoms?"
  3. Drain the blossoms and return them to a bowl. Now pour 500ml of boiling water over them, and put the bowl in the fridge for 8 hours. 
  4. Strain the blossom water into a kettle and throw away the spent blossoms. The water will look brown or gray. That is fine, it is not the final color.
  5. Add 1/2 Tbsp of lemon juice, and the pectin. Stir and heat on high to a full rolling boil. 
  6. Add 2 1/2 cups of sugar and stir and return to the rolling boil. Boil one minute more.
  7. Remove from heat and skim off the pink foam.
  8. Pour into sterile jars (or just clean ones if you are going to be refrigerator jelly people like we are) and cap. 
  9. Cool on wire rack.
  10. Enjoy.

Kudzu blossoms after steeping- Looks terrible now, right?

The liquid is not so bad of a color. Now to add some lemon juice and pectin...

Ummm.... jelly! (I hope, let's see if it sets....)


  1. Hi Eric,

    I found you during a search for information on charred rice hulls. Watched your video and wanted to ask you a question or two. (I'm also admiring that kudzu blossom jelly recipe, but that's another story.) I'd like to know how you use those charred rice hulls and why you think they're useful. And you're outside of Tokyo? We're in Tokyo - Musashi Sakai on the Chuo! Hope to talk soon, Joan

    1. Hi Joan!
      Nice to meet you!

      Sorry about the late reply- been busy with combating wild boars and crows.

      I use the rice hull charcoal to darken my sandy soil, and to provide a home for many micro-organisms. And the honeycomb-like structure of charcoal helps to hold more water in my soil.

      And yes, we are North of Tokyo, near the Fukushima border.