Lilacs are personally one of my favorite flowers. They come in different variety of colors, and they smell incredible during the flowering season. Since they are stunningly aromatic there was one question that stuck with me throughout the years – are lilacs edible?
As I don’t really have any connections to expert gardeners, I’ve decided to check online and also ask the person who knows most about this flower, my grandmother. Her answer was quite surprising as I was dumbfounded when she told me that the flower itself is edible. So, I decided to do thorough research, and figure out what is the best way to consume lilacs.
There are numerous different types of this plant, but essentially, they all come from one main species Syringa. While it is a beautiful plant during the flowering season, it does have one big drawback. It flowers only for several weeks during the springtime.
However, even this is enough for it to make its mark, and every time I see it flower it reminds me of my childhood and beautiful spring days. I did few experiments myself, and these are some of the main homemade products I made and found with the infusion of lilacs flower.
Lilac infused honey recipe
As someone who has access to organic honey, I have to say that it is one of my favorite foods. It is incredibly healthy, and it can be used as a replacement for sugar. This is especially useful if you have kids. The first recipe I’ve found was the lilac infused honey, so I have decided to give it a go.
There are few main things you have to pay attention to. The lilacs have to be freshly picked, preferably from your garden. Make sure that they are not exposed to pesticides or any other chemicals which would be harmful if consumed. Luckily, I have several lilac trees in my yard which made sourcing them a breeze.
I’ve picked six flower clusters, the freshest ones, without any of the brown leaves. Next, I had to separate the stem from the flowers themselves. The best tool for this are scissors, but you can use pretty much anything else. Get a large jar, and cut each individual flower from the stem. Once you’ve filled the jar up, it is time to add honey.
Slowly pour it over the flowers, and let it settle. You’ll see some of the air coming up, and after the honey settles, repeat the same process, and add more honey. Keep adding honey, until the whole jar is full. You’ll see that the flowers will eventually float to the top, and that’s normal since they are lighter.
Now comes the infusion process. You essentially do not have to do anything, but to let the lilac infused honey sit for one to two weeks. I like to leave it longer since the honey will absorb more of the lilacs’ aroma.
Lilac infused honey use
Essentially, there are two ways to use the lilac infused honey. You can either separate the honey from lilacs, by simply scooping the flowers from the top, or you can use the mixture as it is. I prefer using the mixture as it is since lilacs are edible, and you get the full experience and aromas from both of these ingredients. All I do before each use is stir the honey up with a wooden spoon to get the uniform mixture.
One of my favorite uses for lilac infused honey is in tea. I made it part of my daily ritual, and I use it to sweeten pretty much any type of tea I’ve decided to go for that day. Whether it is green, chamomile, black, white, this incredible mixture will make it taste that much better.
The best way to answer the question are lilacs edible is to use this mixture in breakfast preparation. Occasionally I use it as a spread, either by itself, or mixed with butter, for toast. Sometimes, I use it as a syrup for pancakes. In my experience breakfast is a perfect opportunity to take full advantage of it.
One of the main benefits of lilac infused honey comes from baking. Any recipe which allows you to substitute the sugar with honey allows you to use this mixture. The upside to it is that you will get the added aroma of lilacs. This means that you can make granola bars, muffins, whole wheat bread, and even yogurt with a whole new twist.
As we all know honey has antibacterial properties. This makes it ideal for storage, and even though this version contains lilacs, you can store it for a very long time, without the worry that it will go bad.
Lilac syrup recipe
Using above mentioned honey over my pancakes is a great combination, but if you want something else, I got the perfect solution. This lilac syrup recipe is a great way to spice up your morning routine, and it is very easy to make as well. You can even make a big batch, and freeze some of it, so you have it all-year-round. The ingredients you’ll need for this are 1 cup of lilac flowers, 1 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar, and some blueberries, to give syrup some color.
Mix water and sugar in a pot on medium heat. Wait until the mixture dissolves and add lilac flowers. Simmer for 10 minutes, and add blueberries. After you get the uniform mixture remove it from the stove.
Pour the mixture through a strainer, bottle it, and store it in the refrigerator.
It is as easy as that, and you’ll have a great home-made syrup for your pancakes. If you decide to make a bigger batch multiply the amount of all of the ingredients. If you want to add your twist to this syrup, you can use a different fruit, to replace the blueberries.
Lilac infused sugar
One of the other ways you can use lilacs in aromatizing food is through sugar. In the lilac infused sugar recipe below, you can see how to make it in few easy steps. The best part of it is that you can use it to substitute conventional sugar in baking, or in everyday use. I tried it myself, and I have to admit that I love it. The lilac aroma is not overpowering, and it gives sugar that special something. The main items you’re going to need are fresh lilac and sugar, of course, and a jar.
When it comes to quantities, it is basically up to you. The ratio of lilac and sugar is up to personal taste.
Gather some of the fresh lilac flower clusters. As mentioned above, you can use the quantity you desire. Again, make sure that you got it from your garden, or from a trusted source. Lilac flowers shouldn’t contain any pesticides or chemicals that could harm your health. Use the scissors and cut individual lilac flowers on a pile.
Take your jar, and add a layer of sugar, which should be followed by the layer of lilac flowers. Stack layers until you fill-up the jar. Close it and leave it in a dark, and dry place.
Shake up the jar every day, and open it for 5-10 minutes to let the excess moisture out.
After approximately seven days, the flowers and sugar are going to dry out. This is the indication that your lilac infused sugar is done.
Take the strainer, and separate the dry lilac flowers from sugar. Now you can use this aromatized sugar for pretty much everything. From baking your favorite sweets to sweetening the tea, or coffee.
Lilac ice cream
Another great way to utilize this spring flower is through home-made ice cream. You can use your favorite recipe, and either substitute one of the main ingredients or just add lilac to the recipe. Again the main thing you always have to remember is to use the fresh lilac from your own garden or from a trusted source. The flowers clusters shouldn’t contain any of the brown, dried out flowers.
After you got the fresh lilac ready, you should always separate it from the stem. You can either mix in whole individual flowers into your home-made ice cream, you can also grind them down, or cut them up, and add them to the mixture. When making the lilac infused ice cream for the first time, you should pay close attention to the amount of flowers, and the type of lilac you’re using.
Its flowers can be overpowering, depending on the type, and the last thing you want is to ruin the batch. That’s why you should start with smaller amounts, and increase them as you’re becoming more familiar with the aroma of that particular strain.
I won’t go into any particular cake or cookie recipe, but again I am going to go over lilac use in the baking of these delicious treats. There are several ways you can use lilacs when it comes to baking a cake. You can either use them in the batter or the filling. In both of these uses, you can either grind down the fresh lilac flowers, or you can leave them as a whole.
As I mentioned above, lilac flowers can be quite aromatic, and close attention should be paid to the amount you’re using.
Besides these two uses in cake making, you can also use them for decoration. Lilacs are beautiful and they can make any cake stunning as well. All you have to do is cut up some fresh flowers, and decorate the cake according to your wishes.
Lilac infused cookies are basically made using the same philosophy. Add fresh lilac flowers to the cookie dough and you are pretty much done. As with every other recipe, pay close attention to the amount of the flowers.
Lilac infused drinks
Besides your basic lilac water or lilac lemonade, you can use this amazing flower to aromatize pretty much any other beverage. Whether it is for adults only or a healthy soda alternative for kids, just a few flowers of lilac will give it an incredible aroma which will make any drink that much more delicious.
Lilac use in medicine
Lilac, among many other plants, is great to aromatize your home-made skin lotions, face creams, and bath concoctions. The strong scent will stay with you throughout the day, and leave you smelling beautiful. So for this use, it is a perfect plant.
Now, when it comes to medicinal properties, not a lot is said about this plant throughout history. However, there is one thing that is frequently mentioned, and it is its anti-periodic property. Anti-periodic means that this plant has been used in past to stop the recurrence of diseases such as malaria.
Some studies indicate that consumption of raw lilac flowers can reduce fever, and eliminate issues regarding the gastrointestinal tract, such as constipation or flatulence. Some, also state that its flowers are great for alleviating certain skin issues including cuts, rashes, and others.
According to my research, tryouts of different recipes, I have to conclude the lilacs are edible, but not only that. They will also give a new and unique twist to some of your favorite foods, in my case honey. You can also use its incredible aroma to your advantage primarily in cooking where innovation in some cases is a must.
In the end, as I mentioned on several occasions throughout the article, there is one main thing you have to pay attention to, and that is the freshness of the lilac flowers. Do not jeopardize the overall quality of the food you’re making or your health. Always use fresh lilac flowers from a known source.
Don’t overdo it in the beginning since different types of lilac have different strength aromas. Experiment with it, have fun, and you’ll be amazed at how well you can utilize this plant. Hopefully, you’re happy with my answer to your question – are lilacs edible?