Go Ahead. Eat the Centerpiece!
It’s the end of the short lilac season. The botanical name, Syringa, harkens to the beautiful wood nymph of Greek mythology. Lilac flowers have been used as medicinal plants as well as natural light green and yellow dye. I’d like to share some ideas for savoring the flavor and aroma in syrup, drinks, jelly, and scones. The rest is up to your imagination.
Rinse off any dust or dirt with cool water and evict any stray visitors. Any bugs don't seem to eat the flowers but may hide amongst them.
Snip just the blossoms off the clusters. Use only the purple petal. The stems and leaves are not choice edible. The green bits will contribute a bitterness to the whole.
Making the Syrup:
2 Cups Lilac Petals
1 ½ Cups Sugar
¼” Vanilla Bean or ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 teaspoons lemon Zest or Lemon Juice
1 Cup Water
4 Blueberries (for lighter purple use 2 blueberries)
Using a gentle wooden muddler and a standard pint jar. Layer and muddle together the sugar and lilac petals. Layer and muddle adding vanilla and fresh lemon zest then top layers with sugar and muddle a bit more.
Let sit at room temperature overnight.
Put a saucepan with one cup of water and four blueberries on to boil then added my muddle, mixing to dissolve all the sugar and smashing the blueberries. I turned it down to a low simmer to watch and occasionally stir.
When it is reduced by about half, and the blossoms have gone white, the syrup coats the spoon with a deep purple syrup. Take it off the stove and strain it through a small mesh sieve.
Let it cool, strain, and you’ve got your syrup as well as sugary petals to spread on toast.
Store the syrup in a nice glass pouring container in the fridge for up to 10 days.
Store the petal jam in a little jam jar and store in refrigerator up to a week.
option: Pour the syrup into ice cube trays. Store in a bag in the freezer.
Now it’s up to you. Your options are endless. I canned a beautiful champagne pink lilac jelly using my instant pot as a water/steam bath!
Keep going with frosting, sorbet, ice cubes, drinks, toppings, jello, jelly, scones, cookies...
Instant Pot as Water Bath Canner: https://www.friedalovesbread.com/2017/09/safe-steam-canning-with-your-instant.html