Life is definitely sweeter when you add a little sugar...
Note: For those of you that can't stand a long post and skip straight to the recipe (ME), please be sure that your Lilacs have not been sprayed with any pesticides, or anything yucky, prior to eating. Also, when using your blossoms be sure to remove the green stems because those will make your final product BITTER.
Lilacs, arguably one of the sweetest smelling reminders that summer is around the corner. Lilacs are one of the first to bloom in my yard so after all the anticipation they gets loads of attention. I love that my husband, who is from London, also has fond childhood memories attached to the purple blossom. This year, Denver had a late frost and I feared them lost this season, but much to my surprise they blossomed anyways!
Aside from their beauty and heavenly scent, Lilacs are also edible! I wanted to share a couple ideas for how you might harness the season and preserve them beyond their brief spring stay.
One of the easiest ways to put your Lilacs to use is to mix about 1/2 C dry Lilac blossoms - be sure to clean and de-stem completely - with 1 C sugar in to a clean mason jar. Seal and shake once a day to mix.
After one week, sieve out the Lilac blossoms and save the Lilac scented sugar for use.
I did find sieving out the blossoms harder than I would have expected because the natural oils from the flowers changed the consistency of the sugar.
Ideas for use:
Mix into your beverage - add to black tea, stir into homemade lemonade, or rim your cocktail glass.
Combine with fruit - add to berries and let macerate, or toss with pears or stone fruit and roast.
In your baking - sprinkle on top of your baked goods before baking, cream with butter, or whip with cream.
If you want to try making this with a sugar substitute, like monkfruit sweetener, let us know how it goes!
Lilac Simple Syrup
Adding Lilacs to a simple syrup is almost as easy as Lilac Sugar.
Bring 1 C of sugar and 1 C of water to a boil. Stir in 2 C of clean, de-stemmed Lilac flowers and a couple tablespoons of citrus zest - orange, lemon, maybe even grapefruit.
Simmer on low for 10 minutes, take off the heat and stir in 1 TBS of lemon juice.
Strain and let cool before storing in a clean, sealable bottle. Store in the refrigerator and use within one month.
The end product is a gorgeous jewel-toned garnet pink and the possibilities are endless.
A Classic Cocktail with a Lilac Twist....
Here I've used our Lilac Simple Syrup, from above, in a take on the classic cocktail - French 75.
Lilac French 75
2oz - dry Gin
3/4oz - fresh lemon juice
1/2oz - Lilac Simple Syrup
2oz - Champagne
Combine Gin, lemon juice, and Lilac Simple Syrup in a shaker and cover with ice. Shake vigorously for 20 seconds and strain into a glass or flute. Top with Champagne; garnish with lemon twist and a Lilac flower.
You may need to tinker with the amount of Lilac Simple Syrup you choose to use based on your personal preference. I swapped the dry Gin for a cult-favorite from Denver-local, Leopold Bros.
Thats all I've got! As always, please reach out if you have questions or if you've stumbled upon something amazing that we should know about!