I love being able to bring a peony bouquet inside each spring. Their blooms are so gorgeous and it's one of my favorite floral scents next to lilac and lavender...and honeysuckle. My curiosity got the best of me and I decided to see if peonies were edible. It turns out that you can indeed use them in cooking. I found a couple recipes for jam and jellies and just like Alice I went tumbling down a rabbit hole.
Until this past weekend I haven't canned anything before, however, with this being our first year with a garden I've been wanting to learn. Therefore, my post here is not to offer any advice on canning, other than to say it's not that difficult as long as you have the proper equipment.
I did however want to share the difference between Strawberry Peony Jam verses Peony Jelly since they are unique and you may want to consider making them yourself.
Since this was all new to me, the first thing I learned was the difference between jelly and jam. I honestly didn't put a lot of thought into it before; it's all yummy in the tummy, right? The difference is that jellies are made from only juices and jams include chunks of fruit.
I decided to try a version of Strawberry Peony Jam and Peony Jelly to see which I liked the best. Go big or go home. They both taste wonderful but if you want to embrace the flavor of the peony, I recommend making the jelly. Here is the recipe I followed. Click here for Peony Jelly Recipe.
The Strawberry Peony Jam just adds a 1/2 cup of peony simple syrup to a basic strawberry jam recipe. If you haven't made simple syrup before it's equal parts liquid and sugar. Click here for Peony Simple Syrup Recipe
The strawberry jam recipe I followed was by Ina Garten who will never fail you. Click here for Fresh Strawberry Jam Recipe. The jam had a very subtle botanical flavor to it; the strawberries really dominated. Which isn't bad, it just depends what you're going for.
We enjoyed our preserves on blueberry scones and strawberry swirl bread. I have discovered that I always like to make things that go with coffee! Meatloaf is just boring.
I hope I inspired you to savor peonies for yourself while there are still a few blooms hanging around! You won't be disappointed with pink jelly, I promise.