Preserving Lilac Season with Lilac Syrup
One of the easiest ways to use and enjoy edible flowers in your kitchen is by infusing them into a simple syrup otherwise know as a cordial or squash. Lilac season comes and goes so quickly in May and they are one of my all-time favorite blooms, edible or otherwise. Known for their sweet honey fragrance and beautiful purple hue, lilacs have been used in cottage and country gardens and hedgerows for centuries. Lilac syrup is a classic recipe often called lilac cordial that is best used to sweeten and flavor refreshing iced drinks or cocktails.
How to Make Lilac Cordial
The video below shows all of the simple steps to making your own lilac syrup at home. Press play to watch and scroll down to the recipe for detailed ingredient measurements and written step-by-step instructions.
Lilac Syrup Color
When infused into the syrup, the flowers turn the sweet syrup to a peachy rose color, which is beautiful in its own right. If you want the lilac cordial to be purple like the lilac flowers you can add a few frozen blueberries while the sugar water mixture comes to a boil, which will impart a violet hue to the syrup. Frozen wild blueberries work best to give a strong purple color.
Lilac Syrup Flavor
The flavor of lilac syrup or lilac cordial is very subtle. Lilacs have an astringent quality to them which can give off a tart flavor. It’s perfect to balance out the sweet syrup. The flavor is slightly floral, very and citrusy with the addition of lemon.
Lilac Cordial Uses
Lilac cordial has the consistency of simple syrup and is best used in drinks or cocktails. Use it to sweeten non-alcoholic drinks like iced teas, lemonade, cucumber water, or summer punches. Add it to your favorite cocktails in place of simple syrup. Stay tuned for my recipe for Lilac Gin Fizz.
Lilac Syrup Questions:
Are all lilacs edible?
Yes, the flowers of the species Lilac or Syringa spp. (the common species is vulgaris) are edible.
Where do I find lilacs?
Lilacs were originally brought to North America by European immigrants and can now be found growing wild in abandoned lots and old gardens. If you don’t have lilacs growing in your own yard you can forage for them in said abandoned areas or if you see them in a neighbor’s yard it never hurts to ask if you can clip a small bouquet. If you do the latter it is nice to offer payment to the owners. Remember that when you clip off lilacs you are pruning them so only take a few stems from each plant. Be mindful of where you are foraging that the area has not been sprayed with pesticides or is in the path of roadway water runoff.
How do I use lilac syrup?
Lilac syrup is best used to sweeten and flavor sinks or cocktails.
How long will lilac syrup last?
Lilac cordial will last about 4 weeks bottled and refrigerated.
What else can I make with lilacs?
Try my Vegan Semolina Lilac Strawberry Shortcake, Vegan Lilac Lemon Mini Cake, Vegan Lilac Raspberry Scones, and Lilac Water recipes in my recipe archives for starters. Perhaps the easiest way to use lilacs is to freeze them in ice cubes and add them to your drinks. See the image below for inspiration. Lilacs can be added to baked goods, infused into custards, or simply used to decorate a finished recipe.
For more edible flower syrups check out these recipes:
- Rose Simple Syrup
- Wild Violet Syrup
- Wild Honeysuckle Strawberry Lemonade
- Strawberry Elderflower Gin Smash
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