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Queen Anne's Lace Jelly
Queen Anne's Lace Jelly

Queen Anne’s Lace Jelly: Recipe

For years I disdained making Queen Anne’s Lace jelly, believing it to be merely sweet, without distinctive flavor. I’d heard lackluster reviews from fellow foragers, but this year I decided to see for myself and boy am I glad I did. Because Queen Anne’s Lace jelly has a lovely flavor: fruity, not too sweet…it kind of reminds me of juicy fruit gum, but less sweet, with longer lasting flavor, and no chemical aftertaste.

Most of the photos I’ve seen on line show Queen Anne’s Lace Jelly to be a pretty pink color. Mine, though very tasty, was more of a whisky gold color, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. So I made it again. I’d included stems in my first batch, because my pal Butter, who is one of the best cooks I know, said their flavor was as good as that of the flowers. I chewed on a stem and agreed, so I added them to the jelly.

I used only flowers in the second batch, thinking that might have affected the color. I also made sure to include only flowers with the telltale purple spot at the center of the umbel. The second batch was no pinker, although the flavor was slightly sweeter and more floral. Can’t say it was better. Can’t say it was worse. Can’t say it was pink.

I have no idea what makes the color different. I’ve asked everyone I know and some people I’ve never met. The best we came up with was that soil acidity might affect the color of the infusion, and subsequently the color of the jelly. But really, we were just flailing about. Still, since these were east coast QAL, grown in acidic soil, I suppose I’ll have to make another batch when I get back to the alkaline soils of the southwest.

What You’ll Need to Make Queen Anne’s Lace Jelly:

20 umbels of Queen Anne’s Lace

3 cups water

2 1/4 teaspoons lemon juice

3 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon Ball Classic pectin

2 1/4 cups sugar

The above amounts make four half pint jars with a smidge left over for sampling.

Note to novice jelly makers: You may adjust the amount of jelly you make, but keep the proportions as noted above. Do not make more than eight cups of jelly at a time. The reason for this is that the amount of time required to boil a larger amount of jelly can break the pectin bond, and you may not get a good jell.

If you are an experienced enough jelly maker to have your favorite brand of pectin, feel free to tinker with the above recipe to fit your pectin. I prefer a reduced sugar recipe, but I’ve found that many of the reduced sugar pectins produce a cloudy jelly. So I use classic pectin with the lowest allowable amount of sugar. (Don’t worry, instructions are on the package.)

What You’ll Do:

Bring the three cups of water to a boil, then pour them over the QAL flowers and cover. Let them infuse overnight, then strain the following morning. Throw away the flowers and transfer the liquid to a jelly pan.

Add the lemon juice and pectin to the QAL flower tea, and bring the liquid to a boil that can’t be stirred down. Add the sugar and whisk to combine.

When the liquid comes to a boil, continue stirring and boil for a full minute. Then, remove from the heat, skim the foam off the top, and pour into jars. Process the jelly in a boiling water bath for ten minutes.

Have you made Queen Anne’s Lace Jelly?

I’d love to know if yours turned pink or if you have any thoughts on what might make the difference with color. Let me hear from you!

Queen Anne's Lace Jelly




  1. Ursula Kuisma says:

    I made the jelly three weeks ago pale pink in colour. Taste was amazing!Followed the gather web site recipe.
    Can send pictures.

    • Ellen says:

      Isn’t the flavor surprising? I didn’t know what to expect, and I was really pleased. I’d love to see a photo of yours, but I don’t think you can post it in a comment here. Would you mind trying to post a photo of your jelly on my FB page: https://www.facebook.com/thebackyardforager/ If you “like” my page, you should then be able to post a photo in the comment section of the QAL jelly post. (Right now that’s the second post on the page.) I’d like to see what color you got.

  2. Holly says:

    I love the QAL jelly! Such a unique flavor.
    I’ve made in the past and it seems as soon as you add the lemon juice it makes a reaction turning it a delicate pink and absolutely delicate flavor.

    • Ellen says:

      Am I the only person who does not experience the pink color? I’ve made it multiple times and the lemon juice NEVER produces that reaction. Still, I like the flavor, so I’ll keep doing it.

  3. Becky says:

    Mine turned pink as soon as I added the lemon juice. I added bottled, and I did it while the tea was just turned on heat. Not sure what, if any, makes a difference.

    • Ellen says:

      I’ve tried it a bunch of different ways, and it turns pink-ISH, but never the true pink I see in other people’s photos. Doesn’t matter to me…I love the flavor!

  4. Mary Jo says:

    Just made my very first batch ever and mine came
    out a golden amber color. My flowers were slightly past prime and were picked in an old horse pasture so maybe acidic soil? They infused for about 17 hours and the ‘hard’ well water was pretty dark when I pulled the flowers out. If it tastes anything like the QAL tonic, I’ll be happy as a clam :).

  5. Tracy says:

    I have been wanting to make QAL jelly for many years but summer is busy and the plant came and went to seed before I had the time or sometimes even remembered. So that said 3 days ago I went out and picked the flowers using 30 flower heads ,because a few were a bit small,and infused them for around 18 hours.Followed the directions and Wa La I have a beautiful delicate pale pink Queen Anne a Lace jelly. This morning I tried it on wheat toast and really wanted to share my experience. My new favorite jelly is as stated… sweet but not to sweet, slightly fruity and just a joy to my taste buds.I am definitely making more to see me through the winter and as presents.

    • Ellen says:

      I’ve never made kombucha (I’m not a big vinegar fan), but I don’t see why this wouldn’t work. Make the QAL infusion, then add the amount of sugar you normally would for a kombucha. And please let me know how it turns out!

  6. Alyx says:

    Question– I have a citrus allergy so can’t use lemon juice. Is there something I can substitute for this so I can try this recipe as it sounds lovely.

    • Ellen says:

      Interesting question. Most jams and jellies include lemon juice because the acid acts as a preservative and also lowers the fruit’s pH to a level where the pectin can jell. I’ve read (but never tried!) that vinegar can be substituted for lemon juice, so you could try that. Since vinegar is more acidic than lemon juice, you’ll need to adjust the amount. But bear in mind that this may affect the flavor. I can’t speak from personal experience but I’m sure the almighty google will have some information for you.

        • Ellen says:

          Frances Ward (the comment after yours) used some sumac berries for added color, and I love that idea. But I’m not sure they’d be an effective substitute for the lemon juice because I don’t know what percentage acidity you’d get from a strong sumacade or from adding the fruit to the infusion. It’s the acidity of the lemon juice that helps the pectin bond form. If you try the experiment, please let us know how it works out.

  7. Darleen Gray says:

    I am wondering if I can freeze the tonic? Then when ready to make the jelly bring back to the book and add the pectin and sugar steps????I have an abundance of the QAL flowers.

    • Ellen says:

      Just to clarify, the tonic and the jelly are two different recipes, with different ingredients and proportions. You don’t make the jelly from the tonic. You make the jelly from a Queen Anne’s lace tea. You could make the tea (the first step in the jelly recipe) and freeze that to use later in a jelly, but I’m pretty sure that freezing the tonic would remove the natural effervescence you get from fermentation. If I’ve misunderstood your question, please let me know.

  8. Frances Ward says:

    I made QAL jelly for the first time last year. The color had a hint of pink if I used my imagination! This year I decided to make the same recipe, except I rubbed the berries from a few staghorn sumac drupes into the QAL/ water mixture once it was cool. I let that sit overnight before straining. The result was a beautiful pink! And the taste delicious!

  9. Haly says:

    Started making this last night. It was an almost greenish gold color as tea. As soon as I added the lemon and liquid pectin it turned a lovely pink lemonade color. Not sure if it will stay as pink after boiling and adding sugar. I got my QAL from an area between mountains and ocean in the PNW. And not all of them had the distinct purple center flower as some were a bit smaller. I did have a good amount of stem still on them as well. Hope that helps q little with figuring out how to pink it up:3

    • Ellen says:

      Congratulations! I’m not too concerned about the color of mine, because it’s pretty and delicious as is. But I’m glad yours turned pink.

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