Gardening, recipes

Red clover jelly: recipes and reviews

We have a field of red clover, otherwise known as a pasture, on our property. I’m sure the bees will love it when they get here. The goats as well. Everyone seems to love clover and if you’ve ever sucked on those little purple flowers on the flower head, you know why. If not, well, I’m afraid you may not have had an adequate upbringing. Take a moment to find some nice red clover, pull it apart and share it with your children.

Anyway, it’s a flower and it’s edible so of course I had to make jelly out of it.

red clover jelly

I wasn’t as sure of this one since clover has such a delicate flavor to begin with. It has neither the fragrance, nor the strength of lilac or black locust. That, and I had difficulty finding a recipe. If the jelly were all that good, it seems like it would be easier to find instructions on how to make it.

So I started out with the same basic infusion I used for lilac jelly, black locust blossom jelly and dandelion jelly.

For the clover infusion:

4 cups boiling water
4 cups clover flower heads (This part was way easier with clover. All parts of the plant are edible, and none of them particularly offensive. While it is beneficial to use only the actual flower head, a little green isn’t going to have a noticeable effect on the jelly.)

Place clover in a glass or stainless steel container, cover with boiling water and leave it steep overnight. Strain out flowers and squeeze out excess water, reserving liquid for the jelly.

For the clover jelly:

4 cups infusion (add water to replace what was lost in straining)
8 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 packages powdered pectin
8 cups sugar

Add lemon juice to the infusion, stir in pectin and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add the sugar all at once and bring to a rolling boil. Boil for one minute, skim and pour into jelly jars. Process like you would any other jelly. Here’s a great tutorial from Owlhaven.

I was pleasantly surprised at the flavor. It was light, but very pleasant. I loved the color, and lamented that I don’t seem to have the whole bubble free jelly thing down, yet. I tried pouring it into the jars quickly, but I think the real issue was that the jelly was already setting before I got it into the jars. You’re not really supposed to double recipes when using powdered pectin, or so I’ve heard. Maybe this is why? Or maybe I’ll just figure it out in time. No one around here really cares, anyway, so long as it tastes good on bread. And it does.

Then I found another recipe for an infusion. And of course I had to try it. Both with the juice and with the wine.

For the clover infusion:

5 cups apple juice or white wine
2 cups clover in a glass or stainless steel dish

Bring juice or wine to a boil and pour over clover. Cover and let sit until cool. Or, uh, overnight if you get busy and sort of forget about it. Strain and reserve liquid for the jelly.

For the clover jelly:

4 cups clover infusion
8 cups sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
6 oz liquid pectin

Combine infusion, sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as sugar has dissolved, stir in pectin. Return to a rolling boil for one minute. Remove from heat, skim foam and process like you would any other jelly in a hot water bath.

I was quite pleased with the results. The jelly was picture perfect. Clear, no bubbles and that perfect wiggle-on-your-spoon consistency. I don’t know if it was the liquid pectin (which is supposedly happier with the whole doubling thing), the juice/wine or just that I was more conscientious about skimming foam during the whole process rather than just at the end. Either way, the jelly was beautiful.

My daughter wants me to enter it in the fair.

The clover infusion made with apple juice ended up tasting like apple jelly. It was a good apple jelly, with a slight unidentifiable flavor that added more character than most apple jellies have, but it was still apple jelly. And all hints at character were mostly lost once you stopped licking the knife and tasted it on bread.

The infusion made with the wine, however, was quite interesting. Maybe it was just the wine, but it seemed to bring out the flavor of the clover and accent it well. And the interesting flavor carries over to the bread, as well, which is a nice bonus since I’m not in the habit of eating jelly by the spoon full.

A word of caution, however. That whole idea about alcohol burning off in cooking? It isn’t as true as you might like to believe. The jelly isn’t boiled long enough to be confident this is actually an alcohol free jelly. White cooking wine doesn’t have a particularly high alcohol content to begin with, but it is still good to keep in mind.

Note: If you go off in search of clover, remember to be sure it is clover that hasn’t been sprayed. Oh, and you can use any kind of clover. I just happen to have tons of red clover. If you don’t have tons, you can halve this recipe. It was doubled to begin with.

Happy jelly making!

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21 thoughts on “Red clover jelly: recipes and reviews

  1. I’m loving these jelly recipes! Your lilac jelly was terrific. But as soon as I decided to make dandelion jelly, all of my dandelions disappeared. I KNOW I saw clover out in the field, though… Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    1. We did dandelion jelly this year. It looks and tastes a lot like honey. My kids love it! My extended family thinks I am weird though. My sister said she isn’t going to visit me until its gone. :o(

    2. My kids love it, too. Mine didn’t set and I decided I didn’t like it enough to reprocess, but it is working well as a syrup. I think I sort of skimped on the dandelions, though. Planning on trying again next year.

    3. I posted our recipe here. It turned out great. Ron did most of the actual work though. I had never canned anything until last year. Don’t tell Ron, but it is kind of fun…

      So, right after making the dandelion jelly, Ron was using the lawn tractor to mow the lawn. David was sitting on his lap. David was all worked up! “Dad, you smashing over all the jelly.”

    1. Made Queen Anne’s Lace jelly a couple of years ago and lilac jelly this year. Found some red clover growing in a field nearby.and LOVE your blogs. Thank you for all the information you’re willing to share. I’ll be reading more real soon!

  2. Wow, this sounds really yummy! I’m not sure if we have enough clover around here to gather up but we are certainly going to try! 😀 I’ll have to check out your dandelion jelly too – my daughter loves to pick dandelions!

    1. I hope you can find enough for at least a single batch. (The recipes above are double batches). Your basket actually fills pretty quickly.

  3. Yeah, I think yours was the recipe I used, but I got tired of pulling dandelions apart, so I’m not sure I actually had enough. Laziness is not well rewarded in jelly making. 🙂

    I am going to try next year. The kids really like it . . . and that sounds exactly like something my son would say. All my kids are upset that John is planning on cutting down most of the black locust. Like we need them taking over the entire property!

  4. I found your blog searching for clover jelly recipes… Yay! These look great.
    We just moved to our new place a few months ago and was delighted this spring to see a field of clover right out back! We are going to be doing some collecting today.
    I saved your lilac jelly recipe for next spring… that looks wonderful but our lilacs are past their prime right now!

  5. Hi! I discovered this while looking at flower jellies… I just made violet and dandelion last night. I have a question though re: using the wine– you used cooking wine, right? And do you think this would work well with other flower jellies? What about other kinds of wine?

  6. Hi, are you able to tell me what clover jelly taste like ? I have made this year violet,dandelion and rose petal jelly so far this season and it is all great……….

  7. Roger, it is a light flavor, not strong. That makes it difficult to describe. You can taste the lemon juice and that is probably the strongest flavor. If you make it with apple juice, it just tastes like apple jelly. I really like it on gouda. But I can’t quite describe the flavor.
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  8. That isn’t something I know anything about, Kristen, but if you have a suitable recipe for mint jelly, you substitute the clover flowers for the mint. Neither have any acidity or natural pectin so the recipe should work the same for each.

  9. Hi there,
    Found your recipies by searching ‘clover jelly.’ What’s the yeild for these?
    Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. I need help 🙁 I made this jelly and it didn’t set. LOVE the taste. Want to try again but would like suggestions before I do. Thanks.

    1. Hey! Glad to try to help. Sometimes the floral jellies can be a little pesky so take heart. It probably wan’t you. I usually make five or six batches of different floral jellies per year and usually have one that doesn’t set.

      There are two things you can do with this batch: 1) Call it syrup and be done. It’s great on pancakes. That’s what I did with my crab apple blossom jelly that didn’t set last year. 2) Reopen all your jars, dump it in a pot and follow the directions on the pectin you are using (I think the powdered stuff gets added first and then you bring to a boil. I generlly use the liquid stuff which gets added after the jelly is brought to a boil). Oh, and wait a week before you do that. It will continue to thicken. I’ve never had syrup gel completely to jelly, but it does get thicker and may set with a little more time.

      If you make another batch, reread the instructions on your pectin package and make sure you do it exactly as it says.
      If you made a double batch (which is what the recipe on my site is), try making just a single batch. Liquid pectin handles doubling better, but the jelly sets more consistently on single batches.
      And know that you could make it exactly the same way and it might turn out the second time.Sometimes it isn’t you!

      Let me know if you have any more questions!
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