If you like the smell of osmanthus – the sweetly perfumed flower, you will like this drink.  Not many people are familiar with osmanthus which is a shame. There isn’t very much going for it in terms of taste, it’s all in the scent, very much along the lines of jasmine. I think it is just a matter of time before someone enterprising decides to bottle it up into a food extract or a perfume.

Some might find the fragrance overpoweringly perfumed but it does grow on you. Like the jasmine flower, a little goes a long way. Read up more about the flower by scrolling down to ‘Tips’. I have included an image below of my currant favourite cookie, Osmathus And Jasmine Flavoured Cookies. It’s so good, I am eating way too much of it.

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Osmanthus Apricot Drink With Konjac Jelly Strips

Prep: 10 minutes 
Cook: 10 minutes
Inactive: 2 hours or more for jelly to set completely
Level: Easy
Makes: ~ 1/2 gallon (~2 litres)
Oven Temperature:
Can recipe be doubled? Yes.
Make ahead? Osmanthus Apricot Drink keeps well refrigerated for 1 week well bottled.  May also be frozen into blocks.
Jelly can be made a day before serving.

Ingredients

Konjac jelly
1 packet (0.45 oz)(13g) konnyaku* jelly powder
200g sugar
OR replace the above 2 items with
1 bag of ready made peach flavoured konjac jelly**
Everything else
5 cups (1.2 litres) water
4 Tablespoons dried osmanthus flowers***
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1 bottle (~ 0.89 quart) (~0.85 litre) apricot nectar (or enough to equal the volume of osmanthus tea you have brewed)
OR replace with
Peach or pear nectar.*
Some bubble tea straws (has a wider width) to suck up the jelly.
* Konnyaku is made from seaweed and is also known as konjac. The texture is firmer than gelatine based jellies and has a ‘bouncy’ bite. Purchase at Asian grocery stores and most local supermarkets.
** Available at most supermarkets and Asian grocery stores. The brand that I use (image below), is made in Taiwan and there are 12 single portions of jelly in the bag.
*** May be purchased from Traditional Chinese Medicine stores, some tea shops and some Asian grocery stores. It is available online. Scroll down to ‘Tips’ for other ways to use osmanthus and a bit of information on this very floral smelling flower.
* 
A fruit nectar that is more floral would be more suitable. Apple, for instance, would be too tart.

Ready made single portion size of peach flavoured konjac/konnyaku jelly.

Method

Making konjac jelly 
Follow the directions on the packet.

1. A little sachet of malic acid is often included. Many fruit and vegetables contain malic acid. The tartness of a green apple? That’s the malic acid. Choose to use it or not. It will add a tartness to the jelly. If you have not use it before and would like to try, use half the sachet to begin with. Taste and adjust accordingly.
2. The package instructions suggest the addition of 1/4 teaspoon essence and 1 drop of food colouring. I don’t see the need for colouring. As for essence, osmanthus and peach are already a lovely flavour combination. I add konjac jelly pretty much for the textural contrast and that little pep of acidity from the malic acid.
3. When the jelly has set and is sufficiently chilled, cut the jelly into strips, diced finely or easier still, grate through a large-holed grater. It has to be cut small enough for you to be able to suck it up through a bubble tea straw.
4. Refrigerator and store covered until you are ready to use it.

Everything else
1. Boil the water in a pot. As soon as it comes to a boil, add the osmanthus. Cover the pot and turn off the burner. Let the tea steep for 20 minutes. Strain the osmanthus tea. Discard the solids.
2. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Let the liquid cool.
3. Once cooled, add the peach nectar. Transfer into sterilised bottles and refrigerate or freeze.

To serve
1. Add as much jelly as you like into the bottom of a glass.
2. Top up 3/4 of the way up with the Osmanthus Apricot Drink. Stir and taste. Adjust to your liking.
3. Top up with ice. Insert bubble tea straw and slurp away.

Tips

What do you do with the rest of the dried osmanthus?
(1) I so like the smell of osmanthus, I developed a cookie recipe with osmanthus in it – a lovely crisp, floral tasting cookie, Osmanthus & Jasmine Flavoured Cookies. Everyone who has tried it, likes it.

(2) Store leftover osmanthus sealed in the refrigerator. It keeps well. Make yourself some osmanthus tea. One teaspoon per cup.
(3) Mix osmanthus flowers with a tea of your choice to add a floral brew to your cup.
(4) If you google ‘osmanthus jelly recipe’, there are recipes (all similar) for that jelly.  It is an easy jelly recipe and it taste even more perfumed than my cookies. Some might find it overpowering whilst others just cannot get enough of it.

What are osmanthus flowers?
It comes from a flowering plant/shrub bearing tiny cream coloured flowers and is most often used dried. Fresh flowers are highly perishable.

What do you know? There is an osmanthus shrub in my neighbourhood!

When dried, they are a lovely golden yellow. Most of the dried osmanthus sold in shops are from China. It is appreciated for its distinctive floral aroma. It is most often used in sweet dishes but it can apparently be used in savoury dishes as well. Osmanthus wine is enjoyed in China. It must taste lovely. I buy my osmanthus from a Traditional Chinese Medicine store that carefully sources what they put on their shelves. They cost more but I pay the price for the assurance of quality.

WHAT’S COMING UP NEXT?

It’s time to take a break from writing and start preparing year-end festive dinners, lunch, tea and cocktails for the expected larger number of family and friends who will be coming through my doors before the year is over. Lots of preparation and work involved but I have things pretty much organised.

My Christmas tree is all dressed up and as you can see, the dog approves. The rest of the house still needs some kind of adornment but the mango tree has been attended to and it has been strung up with meteor shower rain lights. It is so pretty. They look like shooting stars.

I completed my gift purchasing and wrapping in record time… 3 days. Yet, I believe I have done a better job this year with matching the gift to the person. I hope you have a slew of wonderful meals to look forward to and wouldn’t it be even more wonderful if most of them were home cooked food prepared by someone else!

I wish you happy holidays and stay safe.

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