Peony jelly is a lovely floral jelly made from peony blossoms. Learn how to bottle up these delightfully fragrant flowers in a jelly you can enjoy year-round.
Peonies are old-fashioned flowers that have been a part of summer flower gardens for generations. Like many old-time plants, they also happen to serve another purpose…peonies are edible!
Originally, they were grown as seasoning, and they were quite popular in the middle ages. The roots are made into medicinal teas in Eastern Medicine and the seeds were used as a flavoring in ales. The fragrant flowers were used to season all manner of savory dishes (including meat) and they also flavored sweet lemonade-like beverages in season.
These days though, the roots and seeds are ignored, but the flowers still make their way into the kitchens of adventurous gardens and cooks.
My kids are especially fond of floral jellies, and in the past year, we’ve made nearly a dozen varieties. Dandelion Jelly and Violet Jelly have been our favorites thus far, but I absolutely love the smell of fresh peonies, and I couldn’t wait to try my hand at making peony jelly.
(If you don’t have any peonies in your garden, you can get peony root divisions here, where they come in dozens of beautiful varieties.)
How to Make Peony Jelly
Making peony jelly is no different from making any other type of floral jelly, and it starts with gathering 3-4 cups of fragrant petals.
Gathering (and cleaning) that amount of dandelions or violets will take you all afternoon, but it’ll only take a few seconds for peony jelly. Each dense flower head is jam-packed with petals, and you’ll only need a few blossoms to make a batch of peony jelly.
Remove the petals from the base of the flower, discarding anything that’s not bright and fragrant.
Pour 4 1/2 cups of boiling water over the top of your peony petals, and allow the peony petal tea to infuse for about 10 minutes.
Strain the petals and you should have roughly 4 cups of brightly colored (and fragrant) peony flower tea.
Pour the strained peony tea into a jam pot (saucepan) and bring it to a boil on the stove. Add in 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice (for acidity) and a box of powdered pectin (like Sure-Jell). Stir in the pectin and bring the mixture back to a boil for 1 minute.
Add 4 cups of sugar and stir to dissolve.
Return the mixture to a boil for 1 minute and then ladle into prepared jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
Canning Peony Jelly
It’s perfectly fine to make peony jelly as a refrigerator (or freezer) jelly. The jars should last 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator or about 6 months in the freezer.
If you’d like a shelf-stable preserve that lasts 12-18 months, I’d suggest canning. If you’re not familiar with canning, I’d suggest reading this beginner’s guide to water bath canning before getting started.
If canning, prepare a water bath canner before making the jelly. Ladle the finished jelly into canning jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace and cap with 2 part canning lids.
Process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes (or 15 minutes if above 6,000 feet in elevation).
Remove the jars to cool on a towel on the counter and check seals after 24 hours. Store any unsealed jars in the refrigerator for immediate use. Sealed jars with keep on the pantry shelf for 12-18 months.
Note: The added lemon juice adds acidity to balance the flavor of the sugar in the jelly, but it’s not strictly required for a refrigerator preserve. It is, however, required if you’re canning the peony jelly.
Peony jelly is a simple floral jelly that tastes as good as peonies smell.
- 3 to 4 cups peony petals
- 4 cups water
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 box (1.75 oz) Powdered Pectin (Such as Sure Jell)
- 4 cups sugar
- Bring the water to a boil and pour over the peony petals. Allow the petals to infuse for about 10 minutes (or longer if you choose). Strain and discard the petals.
- Place the peony petal tea in a saucepan along with the lemon juice and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Add the pectin, stirring to incorporate, and return the mixture to a boil for 1 minute.
- Add the sugar, stirring to incorporate, and return the mixture to a boil for 1 minute.
- Ladle the peony jelly into prepared jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
- If canning (optional), process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.
Canning is optional but makes a shelf-stable jelly. If making a refrigerator jelly, allow the jars to cool completely before storing them in the refrigerator. Without canning, peony jelly will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks. If canned, it'll store on the pantry shelf for 12-18 months (refrigerate after opening).
Looking for more tasty jelly recipes?