I was recently gifted this Fireweed Jelly and recipe which follows the text. Besides the flamboyant blazing-magenta color, this jelly is like a royal gift to me. Here's why;
Fireweed a symbol of resilience as it is often the first plant to appear after a forest fire.
When i looked it up in to be sure i was really on top something, the definition illuminated the exact thought i had: "noun: the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched Resilience is defined by most as the ability to recover from setbacks, adapt well to change, and keep going in the face of adversity."
I believe that we are all healing or facing some form of adversity or pain that we do not know what to do with. It is part of life, no matter who you are, where you live, what you look like, it is part of life. But what lifts my heart and strength every time is the courageous act of kindness and generosity people share. It is what gives us the resilience to always pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off, and keep moving forward. Life is a beautiful trip if you want to see it that way.
Lynne Morck met me through social media when I wrote about the Canadian Danish Museum and the most adorable little cabin on its site. It was her family's original homestead. I met with her and her aunts, what a wild and lively bunch, but the part that makes me believe in this world is the kindness shown when least expected. Lynne recently sent me a message saying that she made some jelly for me...she knows i love local food and to write. She thought of me being from the Northwest Territories and wanted to give me a little something that might remind me of home and all my family that live there. And she knows i like to write! Her thoughtfulness came to me at a time where I was missing being surrounded by family, friends and the familiar landscape and culture of home. If you have not known what it is like to move away from everything that is familiar, consider yourself blessed. So her offering of this vividly bright and aurora borealis illuminating colored jelly brought me home.
She said it took her eight, yes... EIGHT hours to pluck each tiny petal from the stalk for this recipe. So this was no simple quick act, but one that took time and care, things that matter most to people. So thank you Lynne, thank you for the care, time and the thoughtfulness to think of me reminiscing of the Northwest Territories.
When i really looked into the color that was royal gem like or for those of us from the North, like the Aurora Borealis, i wanted to look more into it. Just for fun.
Magenta aura color personalities are eccentric nonconformists. They see life from an unusual and usually bizarre perspective. They follow the beat of their own drummers. Magentas colors are a powerful force because they are a combination of the grounded, physical color red and the spiritual and emotional colors blue and violet. They are creative, funny, engaging, charismatic and inspirational.
The Fireweed plant is medicinal on so many levels: anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant, antimicrobial, antiseptic. There are many traditional recipes and uses of this plant, the Cree, the Blackfoot, the Haida use it for healing, nutrition, teas, tonics, poultice, among many other purposes from Elders and books.
The flavor is a delicate floral liliac-rose-crabapple like yet slightly sweet, a combination perfect for me who doesn't really enjoy super sweet anything.
You just need flowers and buds for the jelly, so just pick the tops of the fireweed stalks which will leave the plants and their seed pods behind to mature. And the bees love it, so let's be kind to the bees and not over pick or stamp out this wildflower.
Recipe and following from the website What's Up Yukon:
"The beautiful and striking fireweed plant, with it's spray of magenta flowers is the iconic symbol of the north. Chosen as the Yukon's official floral symbol in 1957, fireweed represents not only the natural beauty of the territory, but also the history and culture of its people.
Fireweed is known not only for its beauty and symbolic cultural importance, but as a delicious and unique jelly. Fireweed jelly is an authentic gift for family and friends visiting the north. It is easy to make, and will be greatly appreciated.
There are many recipes for fireweed Jelly. This is the one I use."