Lilac has the looks, the flavour and the alluring scent. Different varieties of Syringa spp. grow in abundance in old and new gardens and parks, in cities and in the country side. Lilacs are one of the first ones to greet us when spring is turning into summer, and have a solid fan base – myself included.
You can infuse your drinking water with lilac flowers, you can extract their flavour with sugar, you can eat the flowers as such. The flavour varies from bush to bush so it’s a good idea to taste flowers from different individuals. There is also great differences between different varieties. Syringa vulgaris is often a good one to get the flavour. Here’s a few ideas on using lilac in the kitchen.
One way to get lilac taste into foods is to extract the flavour with sugar. For this you need to pick young and healthy flowers and remove all green and brown parts, keeping only the individual flowers. Note that the flowers should be dry. Mix the flowers with an equal amount of sugar and let sit in a glass jar without the lid on until the flowers have dried. If the sugar turns clumpy, shake the jar to break the clumps. It takes a few days for the sugar to extract the flavour, after which it is ready to be used. You can sieve out the wilted flowers if you wish. Use to sweeten drinks, in desserts, with crepes – you name it!
LILAC INFUSED DRINKS
Simple lilac water. To be honest, this isn’t even a recipe. It is just something I tend to do when lilacs are in bloom. I reep lilac flowers from the shrubs, put them in a jug and add water. This gives the water a subtle hint of lilac and sweetens up my day!
Summery lilac drink. Place clean lilac flowers in a glass container, add boiled water. Let cool, and place in the fridge over night. Sieve out the flowers. The next day, add sugared lemon juice – measured to your liking. You can also use citric acid, with the ratio of 1 tbs per litre.
LILAC LAYER CAKE
For me, the real reason to make cake is to get to decorate it with flowers! In my opinion lilac goes well with lemon, so this time I made a layer cake with classic sponge cake and filled it with lemon custard and whipped cream. I used lilac sugar instead of regular sugar and sweetened lilac water (the one used in summery lilac drink) to moist the cake. Most importantly, I topped the cake with a mountain of fresh lilac flowers!
FOREVER FLOWERS ON MY PLATE
To conclude, I think flowers can be eaten with anything and lilacs are no exception. Just sprinkle them on a smoothie bowl, add them to a salad, have them on a sandwich.