When the weather warms up the lilacs come out full force! Their full and fragrant blossoms can be seen and smelt everywhere in the Spring. Lilacs range in color from a creamy white to a dark embodied violet color and grow on small to large leafy shrubs.
Lilacs are edible flowers so they can be used in many recipes and infusions. It's common to see lilac used in cordials, jellies and even wines. This year I decided to play around with some sweet recipes that I could add lilacs to. These two infusions are incredibly beginner friendly and take a very small amount of time to complete!
Lilac Infused Honey
What you'll need:
• Mason jar or tightly sealed glass container
• Liquid Honey - I used 500ml of organic amber honey
• Freshly harvested lilac florets
Gently cut or pull the fresh lilac florets off of the stem. Try to take only the white to purple flowers and leave any green bits as they can add a bitter taste.
Fill your jar to the top with the lilac flowers. The amount of flowers you will need depends on what size of jar you choose. I chose a 500ml jar.
Once you have your jar filled, grab your honey and slowly pour into the jar over the flowers until you reach the top of the jar.
Seal your jar and tip it upside down then right side up so you saturate the flowers in the honey.
As the mix settles, the flowers will all float to the top of the jar. This is normal, they will still infuse!
Let the flowers infuse in the honey for at least a few days. You can leave them for several weeks if you would like a stronger infusion. Stir the mixture daily.
Once you are ready to remove the flowers you can simply scoop them off the top of the honey! You can also leave them in as they are edible, it's up to you!
Enjoy! Great in teas, drinks, on top of toast or biscuits. The possibilities are really endless.
Lilac Simple Syrup Recipe
What you'll need:
• 1L mason jar or tightly sealed glass container
• Large pot
• 4 cups sugar
• 4 cups water
• 4-6 cups freshly harvested lilac florets
Carefully cut or pull the lilac florets off of the stems. Again, try to refrain from adding any of the green bits as they can lead to a more bitter syrup.
Measure out 4-6 cups of the freshly harvested and picked florets.
Fill your pot up with your water and sugar.
Heat the mixture of water and sugar on medium heat and stir until the sugar has fully dissolved into the water.
Once dissolved, add your lilac flowers into the pot. Stir them until they are well mixed into the sugar water.
Turn your heat down to low and add a cover to your pot. Simmer the flowers and sugar water for 5 - 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat, stir the flowers again and put the cover back on.
Your syrup will need to sit at room temperature for around 8-10 hours.
Stir the mixture occasionally and taste test every few hours. At the 8 hour mark you should have a perfect syrup. Leave it for another couple hours if you'd like the infusion to be a bit stronger.
Use a fine mesh strainer to separate the syrup from the flowers. I like to let mine drain for about 10 minutes to make sure every bit of the lilac goodness drips out. You can also use a fork to squish the flowers to get the remainder of syrup out of them.
Pour into your mason jar(s) and keep in the refrigerator. Your syrup should last around 1 month, sometimes longer.
This syrup is wonderful in cocktails, mocktails, lemonades, tonic waters etc. I love to put a few teaspoons in cold brewed teas for a refreshing warm day beverage! You can also use your syrup in warm drinks. Be experimental and let me know what tastes the best!
If you don't have any lilac bushes, ask your friends or family! I got mine from my mom and dad's yard, most people are happy to share, especially if you offer to share the goodies you make! Happy foraging and making!