Wild honeysuckle strawberry lemonade is a sweet and refreshing summer drink, sweetened with a floral simple syrup made from wild honeysuckle blossoms and juicy red strawberries.
Earlier this week Iley and I snuck in an afternoon swim at Steps Beach, which was much needed. On the steps leading down to the sand, I was enveloped by a perfume of sweet honey-laden blossoms. I stopped; inhaling this ecstasy that is called honeysuckle. On the way up the steps after our swim, refreshed and salty, we stopped once again to pick some of these delicate fairy-like blooms, careful to avoid the onslaught of shiny three-leaved vacation spoilers, aka poison ivy, that seem to cover every inch they have can reach on the island. Our foraging continued on bicycles to more abundant spots along the bike paths and roadsides. Baskets full of sweet-scented blossoms, we headed home eager to turn them into fragrant syrup.
Syrups are a favorite versatile preparation for any wild edible/medicinal blossom. Honeysuckle has been used medicinally for thousands of years because of its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, depurative, and diuretic properties among others, and is also used to reduce blood pressure. Read more about the benefits of honeysuckle. Honeysuckle’s pleasant aroma and taste are lovely added to drinks, as well as cakes and biscuits.
Take Note: Before you go out foraging make sure you know what you are picking. There are many varieties of honeysuckle and only some are edible. What we picked is Lonicera japonica or Japanese Honeysuckle.
With Strawberry season still going strong here thanks to a late start to spring, we have been trying to stock the freezer and jar as many local strawberries as we can. I couldn’t resist combining fresh local strawberry juice with the fragrant honeysuckle and bright lemon to make this lemonade. A perfect summertime drink for a party; kid-tested and approved by Iley.
You can replace half or more of the water portion with sparkling water for a bubbly lemonade. Add a splash of your favorite spirit for a tasty cocktail. The bright red hue would be very fitting for a 4th of July holiday gathering. Pour this lemonade into popsicle molds and your mind will be blown!
- 1 dry quart of fresh strawberries use locally grown if you can
- 1 1/2 Cups honeysuckle syrup
- 4 cups cold water
- 2/3 cups fresh lemon juice
- 1 lemon sliced for garnish
- Fresh herbs for garnish
Edible Blossom/Herb Ice Cubes
- 1 loosely-packed cup fresh edible flowers and herbs
- Place honeysuckle blossoms in a clean heat proof glass jar and pour hot syrup over them. Add sliced lemon, cover and let steep.
- Once it reaches room temperature place it the refrigerator for 2 hours up to overnight.
- Strain mixture through a fine sieve.
- Store syrup in a sterilized jar, refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
Make Ice Cubes:
- Place blossoms and herbs into ice cube trays or molds and fill with cold water.
- Freeze until solid.
- Juice strawberries by crushing them though a fine mesh strainer, no need to remove the stem and leaves.
- Combine strawberry juice, lemon juice, honeysuckle syrup, and water in a glass pitcher. Stir gently to combine.
- Add sliced lemon and fresh herbs like mint, lemon verbena, basil or lemon thyme.
- Serve chilled over edible flower and herb ice cubes.