I cannot understand why my arm is not a lilac tree – Leonard Cohen
My love affair with flowers reaches well beyond the garden or vase and onto my plate. I love flowers for their beauty, yes, and for their purpose of attracting pollinators to our garden, yes, but when they also nourish our bodies, all the better. I’ve been seeking out blooms of the edible variety to grow in our garden for years now. And to my delight I’ve discovered that the lilacs trees that were already growing in the yard are edible.
Capturing the intoxicating scent of lilacs naturally is extremely difficult. And, I guess only recently the perfume industry has been able to extract their essential oil. I immediately thought of making a flower water or hydrosol (edit: this method will not produce a hydrosol, but rather a cold infusion flower water, a hydrosol is actually a by-product of steam distillation) with the blossoms when I learned they are edible, similar to other flowers waters like rose and orange blossom. It could not be a more easy process. You simply infuse the fresh cut blossoms into cold pure water. Wait a day or two and its ready to drink as it is or use in other applications.
Lilac blossoms are astringent, which makes their flower water to a wonderful addition to facial mists and toners. The resulting blossom water has a beautiful floral aroma and taste. A bouquet of lilacs hits the palette with each sip. But it is not overpowering at all. The taste is quite delicate and will get lost if mixed with other strong flavors.
You can use the lilac water to make frozen popsicles with fruits and/or other edible flowers. You may also try infusing lilac blossoms into honey, simply by placing dry blossoms into a sterile jar and covering them with raw local honey. It would make a beautiful gift in a nice jar. No need to remove the blossoms.
I’ll be trying out some lilac infused scones this week to hopefully share with you on the blog.
Happy spring foraging and flower eating!
Recipe after the jump…
Lilac Blossom Water
- Fresh cut lilac blossoms
- Pure water (spring water or purified water)
Fill a mason jar with the blossoms, more blossoms equals more flavor. Fill the jar with water and cover. Let the water infuse for 1-2 days. Strain off blossoms and keep water refrigerated.
Serve as is or garnish with lilac blossoms, a thin piece of lemon and/or a mint leaf.
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