Fireweed jelly.


We recently travelled to northern Alberta and on our return trip, we stopped to harvest some fireweed flowers – I’ve had it in mind for a few years now to make jelly with them and finally had a chance to collect some nice bunches. Fireweed grows prolifically here in the south, as well, but you don’t often see it in the city – it seems that I spot it most regularly when it’s in a national park or on private land. Up north, it’s…free range. Or something like that.  😉

We have had the longest heat wave I think I can ever remember here on the Prairies, so to drag out the boiling water canner and make jelly in an already scorching kitchen wasn’t a prospect I was terribly keen on, but this jelly was sooooo worth it! I daresay I love the flavour more than the rose petal jelly I made a couple of years ago (do you remember that?). The fireweed does indeed taste a bit like roses, but it’s far fruitier – and how can you match that incredible colour? I was very impressed – this will definitely be on my list of must-makes every year from now on. The recipe I used may be found here; you have to make the juice first before getting started on the jelly.  Don’t omit the lemon juice, as it contributes to the vibrancy of the colour.

Have you tried any new canning recipes out this year? (Jam, jellies, pickles, chutneys, salsa…etc.). And if you don’t can, have you grown or eaten any new types of fruits and veggies that you’re now a big fan of?


  1. I’m so glad it turned out, it will have to be next year for me. We’re doing renos on the house and all canning and jamming and pickling has stopped until we’re done.

  2. That looks beautiful, Sheryl! There is fireweed growing in the field here (I am at our cottage in Nova Scotia), so I may just have to try the jelly or one of the other recipes on the website – the tea looks good too. Yesterday I made gooseberry jam from the shrub planted beside the cottage. It’s a bit seedy, but tasty!

  3. Sheryl, that jelly looks tasty, beautiful, and sounds very sweet tasting. I am not a general lover of jellies, besides Grape Beet Jelly that my Baba Poturnak (on my mom’s side) used to make, but this jelly looks and sounds like it would be worth a try. When can we come for a visit?? Hee hee. Actually, that might be sooner than later, you never know. Stay cool in the heat – we are getting the same thing here and not much rain.

    • Grape beet jelly sounds amazing, I will have to look for a recipe! We always get a ton of beets from our CSA share so this might be a way to use some of them up!

      And anytime you’re in town, please give us a shout – we’d love to see you! It’s been forever! 🙂

  4. I had no idea they could be eaten! We call them willowherb here, and they grow everywhere, including in my garden if I let them! Very interesting. Enjoy your jelly Sheryl!

    • “Willowherb” sounds a bit more pleasant than “fireweed”; naming is always so interesting! Apparently every bit of the plant can be eaten, not just the flowers. I think it’s beautiful as well – nothing like seeing a whole bunch of it flowering on the roadside or in a mountain meadow.

    • Yes, I believe it’s partly due to the colour – maybe more because it is a pioneer plant, one of the first plants to establish after a wildfire has destroyed an area. It tastes really fruity, almost like cherries.

  5. I never knew about this flower, but the jelly sure is a beautiful color and if the taste matches the color, then WOW! I used to do a lot of canning but haven’t had the time recently. I do miss it, even in the summer heat.

    • Canning is definitely time consuming, that’s for sure! I guess part of that as well is the fact that you can’t start working on a jam or jelly or pickles etc. and then walk away for a bit while it “simmers” – you have to babysit it the entire time. But the end result is usually worth it – in this case, definitely something I would make again! 🙂

  6. What a pretty looking jelly, I’ve just looked this plant up as I had not heard of Fireweed before, in the UK its Rosebay Willowherb, Just looked too at your link to the recipes, the scones sound interesting, have you tried them?

    • I love the ideas on that website – I really want to try more of them! Will have to source out more fireweed next year, it’s starting to wane a little now, especially after the heatwave. I really do prefer the name rosebay willowherb to fireweed – it seems to fit the beauty of the flowers!

  7. So interesting! I did not know you could make jelly from these flowers! looks so beautiful. In my city garden I am growing strawberries and rhubarb. Rhubarb is OK and used it in cakes…the squirrels really enjoy them! ;0)

    • LOL I’m starting to think the squirrels will eat anything in the garden! They are not discerning at all…. 😉

      I’m a big fan of rhubarb, and really love it in cake and pie (with strawberries!). And it makes a delicious compote as well…and jam!

  8. Someday I hope to do the jelly thing, but until then, wow! The jelly looks delicious. I checked out the rose jelly too, never knew you could make jellies that way always thought you needed fruit. I might have to try something like this, thanks

  9. This looks wonderful. I wonder if other willowherbs could be used. We have plenty of Great and Hoary Willowherb here and not so much of the Rosebay, which I think is the prettiest. Perhaps Rosebay is the sweetest like roses?

  10. Cool! I had no idea you could make jelly from fireweed. We did make some gooseberry jam in the spring, nothing since then. The gooseberry was good, but more trouble than it was worth.

    • I simply have to find a source for gooseberries here! (Up north, they are plentiful but I seem to never travel there during harvest time). I would like to try gooseberry jam. Is the trouble in preparing the gooseberries for canning? I think that’s very time consuming, isn’t it?

  11. What a pretty flower – I see why it might be similar to rose petal jelly but better as you said. I can Hot Red Jalapeno Jelly, Strawberry Preserves, sometimes Blueberry but nothing new this year, so far 🙂

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