HERB FOCUS: LILAC BLOSSOMS
Lilac flowers have astringent, aromatic, and perhaps a little bitter qualities. Astringents tighten, draw, and dry tissues such as skin. So a wonderful application would be a cold or warm infusion to use as a toner on the face. Or using the same method but apply to rashes, cuts, and other skin ailments.
An aromatic action causes irritation to the place that it is touching (think GI tract) and irritation brings blood flow and blood flow equals healing! Eating the flowers raw may help with gastric issues such as flatulence or constipation. Making an herbal infused oil may be a great way to capture the aromatics for healing purposes and to make your own fragrance oil.
EDIBLE LILAC RECIPES
Can I Eat Lilacs? Yes, just let me count the ways!
The simplest way to enjoy lilacs is as an infusion of the flowers for a lilac sugar . The sugar can then be used in recipes to add lilac flavor to baked goods. This also works with a lilac simple syrup which is just a liquid form of the same thing that’s perfect for making cocktails. For my money though, I think lilac honey sounds the best.
How to make lilac honey:
When you are harvesting lilac flowers, be sure to pick the freshest looking ones that haven’t begun to turn brown yet. Four or five large flower clusters is all that you need for this recipe.
First cut the lilac flowers off the stem (I find using scissors to be easiest) and into a pint size mason jar. This goes pretty quickly with lilacs as they are quite large and sturdy compared to other smaller and more delicate flowers like elderflowers.
Once the jar is full of lilac flowers, pour in raw honey to completely cover the blossoms.
The honey will settle for a bit and it might take a while for it to make its way to the bottom of the jar. As it does, big bubbles will slowly come up to the surface of the honey.
Let it sit for a bit, then you will probably want to top it off with a bit more honey to cover the blossoms.
As the hours go by the flowers will shrink and become a small mass of flowers at the top of the jar. The flower mass will eventually become much thinner and will sit right at the top of the honey.
Cap the jar and let the honey infuse for at least a few days and up to several weeks before using, stirring the flowers up a bit as often as you think of it.
How to Use Lilac Infused Honey
When you are ready to use the honey you can easily scoop out the mass of flowers from the top of the jar with a spoon. You can alternatively leave them in if you’d like as they are edible. It’s up to you!
This infused honey is absolutely delicious and can be used just like regular honey. Try spreading it on toast, biscuits, or scones. Lovely in teas and to sweeten summer iced drinks.
The lilac honey will store for a long time, at least several months, in the pantry.
Another great idea is to make a lilac honey butter. Simply mix some of the infused honey with softened butter and you have yourself an amazing spread!