Making floral syrups and jellies is increasing in popularity.
The two most viewed posts on my blog right now are my Violet Syrup and Dandelion Syrup recipes, they are being viewed daily by more people than I can count, as well as making their way around Pinterest (check this out).
BTW...Thanks to everyone who pins my recipes, I'm very appreciative, and surprised as well.
I don't know when or how it got started for people to can these syrups, there is no recommendation from the USDA, but I myself felt there could be nothing wrong with doing so.
High sugar content, added acidity, where could I go wrong?
I canned these as I usually do, I'm very careful that everything is thoroughly disinfected and my jars are sterilzed properly.
We used the many jars of both syrups that I made well into winter with no problems.
But about 2 months ago I noticed something funky going on in the jars.
The violet syrup had not only faded from it's vibrant magenta to a pinkish brown, but there was some weird stuff floating within…
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I looked further and checked all my dandelion syrup jars and discovered something even worse…
A strange floating colony at the top of the jars.
Not all of the jars were from the same batch but multiple batches made over several weeks.
Therefore, I could probably rule out a contamination, surely it would not have occurred over several batches, especially since NONE of my other preserves had this issue.
There was no off-gassing, no expansion, fizzing, bubbles or release of gas or odor upon opening the jars. Signs you would see with a bacterial contamination, but I had none, very strange.
Marisa (Food In Jars) and I, after much brainstorming came to the agreement that FLORAL SYRUPS SHOULD NOT BE CANNED.
Our best guess was that there was some sort of residual fungus that was on the flowers that survived the boiling process of both making the syrup and processing the jars and after many, many months was able to flourish, despite what would seem improbable conditions.
All flowers were picked in my yard. I do live in the woods, so maybe the fungus theory is a strong possibility.
Also curious was that the growths in the violet syrup were completely different from the growths in the dandelion syrup. Again, maybe different fungus that survived on the different flowers?
Will I make these syrups again? Absolutely.
So, if you are going to make floral syrups here's some things you should definitely know:
- Always choose flowers away from roadsides, areas that are sprayed, lawns that are treated, etc. Select flowers free from any chemicals and road run-off.
- Rinse them gently first, or gently agitate them in some water, to clean them off and remove any stray insects.
- Do not can them, despite what you might read on other blogs. If you choose to do so, please inspect your jars regularly by holding them up to a bright light or window. If they are not clear or show any signs of funkiness or questionable areas, please do not eat them and dispose of them immediately.
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