Making Plumeria Blossom Jelly

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Mr. M and I have several collections of flowers, such as roses and plumerias. Although most people associate the plumeria, or frangipani, flower with Hawaii, they are actually indigenous to Mexico. The plants were originally taken to Hawaii by Mexican workers. In Hawaii they are sometimes called Cemetery plants because they were planted in cemeteries to mask any offensive odors. Now they are popular for making fragrant Hawaiian necklaces, called leis.

Plumeria grow excellently here in Baja. Although they are leafless and dormant during our “winter”, then they spring to life when the weather warms up. When they bloom they are so fragrant! We have several colors and each seems to have a distinct fragrance.

I love the smell so much that I decided to try my hand at making some Plumeria Jelly, in hopes that I could capture some of that delicious fragrance to put on my toast. Of course, I could not find a recipe for Plumeria Jelly so I decided to adapt a recipe for Rose Petal Jelly. Here is what I did:

I gathered a colander full of pink and white plumeria blossoms one early morning. I guess I had about a quart. I snipped the green base off of each petal because I know that the plant has liquid latex like sap.

About a liter of fresh plumeria blossoms
About a liter of fresh plumeria blossoms

I stuffed them into an old, sterilized pickle jar. I added boiling water to cover the flowers and let them steep for thirty minutes.

Plumerias stuffed into an old pickle jar
Plumerias stuffed into an old pickle jar

After a half of an hour they looked pretty soggy and their color had transferred to the water making a fragrant infusion.

After a while
After a while

I strained the water off and I had some pretty sorry looking flowers and some cloudy, grayish pink infusion.

Ready for the compost pile
Ready for the compost pile
This doesn't look too inviting!
This doesn’t look too inviting!

When I added the lemon juice, something surprising happened: the color became brighter and clearer:

Lemon juice magic!
Lemon juice magic!

This is what I used to make my jelly. It came out a lovely pink color with a perfumed flavor.

Here is my basic recipe:

Approximately one quart of prepared Plumeria blossoms, green bases removed

3 cups of water, boiling

2 ½ cups of sugar

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 ounces liquid pectin

Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan; remove from heat. Add petals; cover, and steep 30 minutes. Strain liquid into clean saucepan. Discard petals

Add sugar and lemon juice to pan. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring, over medium-high heat. Boil 2 minutes; add pectin, and boil 2 minutes (for firmer jelly, boil up to 2 minutes more). Remove from the heat. Pour into sterilized jars, and let cool completely. Process in a boiling water bath for long storage, or keep in the refrigerator to use up quickly.

Since this recipe is an adaptation of a recipe for rose petal jelly, I imagine that almost any eatable flower or herb leaf could be substituted for the plumeria blossoms. I wonder if it would work with citrus blossoms. I love the way they smell too!

3 thoughts on “Making Plumeria Blossom Jelly

    jm said:
    June 12, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Hi there,

    I enjoy your blog and hope to move to Baja and do lots of gardening myself! I used to live in Hawaii and plumerias are one of my favorite flowers, but I wanted to let you know that the latex sap is *poisonous*.


      itsjusttoni said:
      June 13, 2010 at 5:20 pm

      Thanks so much for reading my blog! Yes, I have heard that the latex sap is poisonous, so that is why I just used the blossoms. I hope you enjoy your move to Baja! It is a great place to live!


    B said:
    June 18, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Great entry! I have a tree in the yard and been looking for ways to use it. The sap is actually used medicinally here.


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