Nothing quite says spring like the delicate, sweet scent of lilac blooms wafting in through your windows. They certainly are beautiful to behold, but did you know they are also edible? While there are many ways to enjoy them, a simple syrup is an easy way to preserve the unique sensory experience of lilacs throughout the year. And yes, they taste just like they smell! It is absolutely exquisite.
Lilac flowers are purported to have medicinal qualities as well- there is some evidence they are a febrifuge (bring down fevers), help with digestive upset and gas, and have calming properties.
To make this recipe, you’ll only need your flowers, water, and sugar. While technically any sugar will work, ideally you want something minimally refined and without much flavor or color. Coconut or date sugar, for example, are so dark and rich-tasting that they would detract from the gentle floral notes of the lilac. My first choice would be maple sugar, but I had a difficult time tracking it down on short notice so I used organic beet sugar.
The first step is to gather as many fresh flowers as you can.
The most time-consuming part of this process is plucking the individual flowers off of the panicles. I grab ahold of a few of them at a time and pull. You’ll want to avoid using any leaves and stems, as that can make your syrup taste bitter.
Once your flowers have been plucked, you’re ready to start cooking. Keep in mind you can double, triple, or quadruple this recipe based upon how many flowers you’re able to gather.
Begin by bringing one cup of water to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Once it’s to a rolling boil, turn off the heat and add one cup of sugar. Stir until completely dissolved.
Next you’ll gently fold in two cups of flowers. Mix well, cover, and let sit for 8-10 hours.
Once the flowers are done infusing, you’ll want to use a mesh strainer or coffee filter to strain out the plant material. Store your syrup in a jar, and make sure to refrigerate.
Add to beverages, desserts, yogurt, anything that would be enhanced with the beautiful lilac flavor.
This lilac lemonade was just 8 oz of unsweetened lemonade and 4 tbsp of lilac syrup. All you need is water and a freshly-squeezed lemon to make your own lemonade. Want an adult version? Add 4 tbsp of lilac syrup to one can of Truly Hard Lemonade. Enjoy!!!
Megan Normansell, CHC, AADP, CFH
Certified Holistic Health Counselor/ Certified Herbalist/Holistic Nutritionist/Wild Edibles Guide
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