April showers bring May flowers, right? Enamored by the beauty of spring, I stared at the lilac flowers and questioned if they were edible like lavender? A brief Google search taught me that lilacs are not only edible, but they are a perfect addition to baked goods and as a sweetener.
The hot yet crisp air of Seattle’s spring has sprung into summer-like climate. The pollen has been intense and I, and many others, have been affected by allergy-related headaches, sore throats and ear-aches.
The beauty of these flowers inspired me to try something different – cooking with flowers. I decided to make lilac simple syrup to use for desserts and for various beverages. I don’t really know who to attribute this inspiration to besides the lilac flowers and the several food blogs that have made lilac syrup.
Lilacs originate from Europe and often pair well with the vintage vibe. If you’ve followed any of my recipes, you know that I love flowers and nature. Lately, I’ve been into history and reading and re-watching various historical events. Oddly enough, I am watching the show called, Tudors, which is about Henry VIII’s reign over England and Turn: Washington’s Spies about the American Revolution.
I recently collected some new vintage gear from Queen Anne’s Queen Flea market where you can see all of Grace’s awesome upcycled vintage gear @bygonecharm on Instagram. While in Europe, I collected so many antique dishwares for my food photography that flea markets and estate sales are another new hobby. My heart melts at anything with a flower on it. In fact, it reminded me of my trip to the Louvre in Paris where I stared at 1700’s floral dishware.
Well back to the odd findings, I looked up the history and medicinal benefits of lilacs. Lilacs are native to the Balkan states and were introduced to Britain during Henry VIII’s reign and mentioned in an inventory check taken by Oliver Cromwell at Norwich. In America, Thomas Jefferson recorded methods of planting lilacs in his garden in 1767 and George Washington noted he transplanted existing lilac bushes in his garden on March 3, 1785.
Today, there are 20 species of lilac flowers with petals ranging from deep purple to white. I created recipes that can use the lilac syrup to make a sweet and healthy spring beverage.
Make sure to use lilacs that are not cultivated with pesticides and are away from pollution (such as being next to the road). It is important to wash the lilac flowers to rid of the dust, pollen and bugs.
Cook time: 10 minutes
Makes: 1 cup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup lilac flowers
12 blueberries for color
Start by washing the lilac flowers and blueberries. Place the water and sugar together and bring to a boil until the sugar dissolves. Lower to a simmer and add the lilac flowers and blueberries.
*Note: For a lighter purple use 5-6 blueberries. I wanted a darker purple and a syrup that was not overpowering with a floral taste.
Once the berries soften, take a spoon and push the blueberries on the side of the pan until it bursts. This will enhance the color. Simmer until you are satisfied with the flavor. Usually, the petals wilt to "nothing" near 10 minutes. Strain the mixture and let the syrup cool. The syrup will thicken over night.
Herbal Lemon Ginger Lilac Tea
Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
2 cups water
1 circular slice of lemon
2 tbsp lilac syrup
2 one-inch chunks of ginger root
Remove the skin of the ginger root with a knife. Cut the ginger pieces in half. Boil the ginger in the water for 8-10 minutes. Squeeze the lemon juice into the water and then place the squeezed lemon into the pot and simmer for 5 minutes. Once done, remove the pot from the burner and let the tea slightly cool. You should have about one cup of water left (one cup is near lost from the steam). Add syrup and enjoy warm!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
1 lemon, juiced
2 cups water
4-5 tbsp lilac syrup
Squeeze the lemon and mix it with the water and lilac syrup in a jug. Serve chilled.
Making lilac syrup and beverages are that quick and easy! Stay tuned on Wednesday as I post my Lemon Blackberry Lilac Crepe Cake! It's light, airy and as beautiful as these bushes! Enjoy!
Have you cooked with lilacs? If so, what is your favorite recipe? If you have another flower to cook with, let me know!
Social Media, Newsletter,Email - Let's be friends!
Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com