Lilacs are known to be an edible flower, but are more well-known for their beauty and lovely fragrance. Lilacs bloom only once a year for a very short blooming period so if you want to make something with them, you should be prepared in advance of their bloom. In warmer states, like California, lilacs bloom generally around the latter part of February/early March. In the colder climates, lilacs are in bloom now–at least they are in Utah.
Lilacs are one of the most delicate flowers. You don’t see lilac essential oil on the market because steam distillation destroys the fragrance of the lilac, due to the delicate nature of this flower’s composition. Interestingly, most lilac fragrances on the market today are synthetic scents and not from the real lilac flower.
As I know the unique, delicate nature of this flower and how fleeting the true fragrance of this flower is during the year, due to it short bloom, I was super excited when I learned about something called lilac honey, a few years back. I learned about it from an herbalist and it is truly a gem discovery.
Lilac honey is essentially honey that has been infused with fresh lilac blossoms. The essence from the lilacs is beautifully preserved in the honey when combined together in a sealed container for days to weeks.
To make this honey, you need to ensure the quality of the two ingredients to this recipe—fresh, clean lilac blossoms and a mild honey. For the lilacs, make sure that the lilacs you are using have not been sprayed with chemicals or pesticides. In regards to the honey, you can use any mild honey of your choosing. For my recipes, I go for a milder wildflower honey, but some wildflower honeys can be intense in flavor. Accordingly, taste the honey you choose beforehand and make sure it’s not too strong so it doesn’t overpower the lilac.
Here is the recipe:
- Place 2 cups of fresh, clean (chemical-free and pesticide-free) lilac blossoms in a large, glass mason jar (Note: Ensure that you have removed the green stems from the lilacs before placing in the jar—you want only the lilac blossoms in the jar);
- Cover the lilac blossoms with 1 ½-2 cups mild-flavored, raw honey;
- Mix the blossoms and the honey with a spoon in the jar to ensure they are fully incorporated;
- Cover the jar with a tight sealing lid;
- As the flowers marinate, they will likely float to the top of the jar and that is okay;
- After a few days, open up the jar and give the flowers and honey another mix, then close up the lid again and let the honey infuse for a few more days up to a couple of weeks, just dependent on how intense you would like the lilac flavor to be;
- My lilac honey reaches the flavor level that I like after about a week, but this may vary just depending on how fragrant the lilac flowers are;
- When your honey has reached the flavor profile that you like, then it’s ready to use;
- Remove the lilacs from the honey before pouring it into another clean container for use (the honey should last in the pantry for a few months);
- You can use this lilac honey in teas, on bread, toast, biscuits, scones, really anything that you like. I made lilac honey butter yesterday and it was soooo good. I just combined some lilac honey with butter and it was great.
This is a fun way to use lilacs as their bloom season is so fleeting. If lilacs aren’t already past bloom in your area and you have access to some quality, clean blossoms, then this is a fun recipe that you may want to try out. Enjoy!
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