It’s the time of year that it’s hard to pin me down. I’m outside. Busy in the backyard, planting, weeding, sitting, contemplating. I just want to be outside. Watching for the return of Chestnut. Seeing if we have any new baby rabbits in the yard. I just find so much peace there, that you’re hard pressed to get a post out of me. I have better things to do.
Because of this I was there, in the backyard, when the peonies bloomed this year. They are my absolute favorite flower: profuse, heavy blooms; heady fragrance. I turned the confetti of abundant petals into syrup. I did this last year, but not as adroitly.
Marry to this that I went strawberry picking with friends last week. And 17 pounds picked meant there was certain to be some jamming. Did there happen to be some master pastry chefs along? Why yes, there were. (Thanks, B.) So I asked them how to incorporate my peony syrup into the jam that was sure to follow all that picking. Add the syrup at the last minute, they said, to keep all the flower essence. But of course.
Ten cups of strawberries and a half a cup of peony syrup made exactly three half pints plus two or three spoonfuls for savoring. Worth it? Absolutely.
Pluck petals from three huge peonies and mix them in two cups of sugar for two days. Add a cup of water and bring to a boil and simmer for a few moments until clear. Cool. Strain. Follow this recipe for jam (I however skipped the pectin and just cooked it down to a set). Add in a half a cup or more of the peony syrup at the last moment when the jam is all made for maximum peony fragrance.
Enjoy May all over again whenever you crack into one of these three precious jars.
Playlist included Better Off Without You by Summer Camp.