Lilac Sugar, Lilac Honey and Lilac Syrup

Jars of lilacs
Lilac Sugar

Lilac Sugar, Lilac Honey and Lilac Syrup – three easy ways to capture that wonderful fragrance for culinary use!

I love lilacs!  The lilac bushes are just coming into bloom now and we have bushes flowering in our garden and neighbouring gardens in a range of shades from white to palest mauve to rich purple.  Whatever the colour, they all have a fantastic, sweet, floral perfume, strongest when the sun has been shining as it has for the last few days.   Who wouldn’t want to catch a drift of the scent of lovely lilacs on a late spring day?

As well as making your garden more beautiful, lilacs are also edible and their wonderful scent can be captured in a range of ways and used in cooking and in summer drinks.  The flavour is not as strong as some highly-scented edible flowers, such as rose or lavender, but I think its delicacy matches the mood of late spring perfectly.   The flowers can also be used straight-off to decorate cakes, cookies and puddings.

I have included three ways in which the fragrance of lilac can be easily captured to create scented ingredients that can be put to culinary use.   The methods are really straightforward, particularly for the Lilac Sugar and Lilac Honey, and make a great project for children (and they can give the jars as gifts!).

sugar and honey
Lilac sugar and honey
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Lilacs and sugar

Lilac Sugar

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Total Time: 15
  • Yield: 1 jam jar
  • Category: Baking ingredients
  • Cuisine: English

Description

Making Lilac Sugar is a really simple way of capturing the floral fragrance and making an ingredient that can be used to add it to a range of baked goods and puddings.


Ingredients

  • Caster sugar
  • Lilac flowers (as with any edible flowers, make sure that you know that these have not been sprayed with pesticides etc)

Instructions

  1. Wash your lilacs and pull the little flowers off the stems.
  2. Sterilise your jam-jar.
  3. Put a layer of caster sugar in the bottom of your jam-jar (about 1 cm deep).  Next add a similar layer of flowers.  Repeat until you have filled your jar.
  4. Put a lid on your jar and leave it in a cool place (larder or cupboard) for at least one week.  At the end of this time, the sugar will have been infused with the perfume of the flowers.
  5. When you wish to use your sugar, you can sift it through a wide-meshed sieve to remove the flowers.

Notes

You can sterilise your jam-jar by washing it in warm, soapy water, rinsing well and then drying off for 15 minutes in an oven set at 140C/120C fan/gas 1.

Although preparation time is only 15 minutes, you will need to leave the sugar for around a week to allow the lilac flavour to infuse.

 

Keywords: lilac sugar

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Honey jar

Lilac Honey

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Total Time: 15
  • Yield: 1 jam jar
  • Category: Baking ingredients
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This is a way of infusing honey with the scent and taste of lilac.  It can be used as a spread on bread or toast or as a culinary ingredient.


Ingredients

  • A small jar of honey (avoid honey that is strongly flavoured and, if there are any small producers near you, try and use that and support your local bees!)
  • Lilac flowers (as with any edible flowers, make sure that you know that these have not been sprayed with pesticides etc)

Instructions

  1. Wash your lilacs and pull the little flowers off the stems.
  2. Sterilise your jam-jar.
  3. Fill your jam-jar with the flowers.
  4. Pour in honey into your jam-jar until it reaches the top.
  5. Put a lid on your jar and leave it in a cool place (larder or cupboard) for at least one week.  At the end of this time, the honey will have been infused with the perfume of the lilac flowers.
  6. When you wish to use your honey, you can strain it through a wide-meshed sieve to remove the flowers.   If the honey is too viscous, you can strain it more easily if you warm it slightly by putting the jar in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes.

Notes

You can sterilise your jam-jar by washing it in warm, soapy water, rinsing well and then drying off for 15 minutes in an oven set at 140C/120C fan/gas 1.

Although preparation time is only 15 minutes, you will need to leave the honey for around a week to allow the lilac flavour to infuse.

Keywords: lilac honey

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Jars of lilacs

Lilac Syrup

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Total Time: 15
  • Yield: 1 jam jar 1x
  • Category: Baking ingredients
  • Cuisine: English

Description

Making syrups is a traditional way of capturing the flavour of herbs or flowers, in this case lilac, so that they can be used as culinary ingredients.   This syrup can add flavour to baked goods, puddings and cocktails.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 350 g caster sugar
  • 500 ml water
  • Around 30 g of Lilac flowers (as with any edible flowers, make sure that you know that these have not been sprayed with pesticides etc)

Instructions

  1. Put the water and sugar into your small saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Add the lilac flowers and simmer uncovered for around 15 minutes.
  3. Sterilise your jam-jar.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat. Pour the liquid into your jam-jar through a sieve to remove the flowers.
  5. Allow to cool and it is ready to use.

Notes

You can sterilise your jam-jar by washing it in warm, soapy water, rinsing well and then drying off for 15 minutes in an oven set at 140C/120C fan/gas 1.

Keywords: lilac syrup

Uses for Lilac Sugar, Lilac Honey and Lilac Syrup

Sprinkle the Sugar over pancakes or waffles or drizzle with the honey or syrup

Use syrup to make soft drinks (one part syrup to four parts water) or as a basis for cocktails

All can be included as an ingredient in baking – cakes, cookies and scones – or puddings and making icing.  Just replace normal sugar or syrup in your recipes with flavoured versions.

The honey and syrup can be used to sweeten whipped cream – lovely with scones or pastries!

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Dandelion Syrup and Dandelion Jelly

Dandelions and waffles
Dandelion syrup and waffles

Dandelion Syrup and Dandelion Jelly

If your garden, like mine, is currently over-run with dandelions, stop a minute before uprooting them and consider how they might be used more constructively.

At this time of year, I spend a lot of my gardening time trying to clear the unwanted crop of dandelions.  They seem to pop up overnight and, where the previous evening I have a bed of beautiful and elegant spring flowers, the next morning they have been joined by a number of  shaggy yellow interlopers.  It is as if several cast members from EastEnders have stumbled onto the set of Downton Abbey!

Dandelions are actually both nutritious and delicious and all parts – roots, stems and flowers – have culinary and therapeutic uses.   The roots are traditionally used to make  tea and as a basis for Dandelion and Burdock, a beverage produced since the Middle Ages and still consumed by those who wish to reinforce their hipster credentials.  The stems and leaves can be used raw in salads or cooked, and combined with other spring greens, add a refreshing bitterness to stuffings and pies.    The flowers do not taste bitter and have a lovely, floral, spring-like flavour – matching their cheerful colouring and feisty attitude – which can be captured in syrup or jelly or used as a baking ingredient.

I have provided recipes for Dandelion Syrup and Dandelion Jelly below.  They both start off with the same process of creating a “dandelion tea” by steeping the flower petals overnight in water, and are excellent ways of using all those pesky intruders in your garden.  If you can’t beat them, eat them!

Soaking dandelion flowers
Wash your dandelions
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Dandelion Syrup

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 2 jam-jars 1x
  • Category: Baking ingredients
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This is a beautiful, fresh, floral tasting syrup, flavoured with dandelions, which can be used on waffles, ice-cream or as a base for cocktails.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 100 dandelion flowers – make sure that these have been grown somewhere that has not been treated with pesticides or fertilisers
  • 500 ml water
  • 300 g caster sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon (optional)

Instructions

  1. Wash your dandelion flowers in a bowl of cold water to remove dirt and small insects.
  2. Cut the petals off the flowers just above the green sepals.  You do not want to include the green bits as these will be bitter.
  3. Put the petals into a heavy pan with 500 ml of water and heat to simmering point and then remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool. Then place the pan containing the water and petals in the fridge overnight.
  4. The next day, strain the liquid through a sieve to remove the petals and return it to your heavy pan.
  5. Add the sugar and lemon juice and simmer gently uncovered for around half an hour until the liquid is thick and syrupy.
  6. Then transfer the syrup to a sterilised jar or bottle.

Notes

You can sterilise your jam-jar by washing it in warm, soapy water, rinsing well and then drying off for 15 minutes in an oven set at 140C/120C fan/gas 1.

Uses for Dandelion Syrup include:  Pour over pancakes or waffles; Use to make soft drinks (one part syrup to four parts water); Use as a basis for alcoholic cocktails.

Keywords: dandelion syrup

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Dandelion honey

Dandelion Syrup and Dandelion Jelly

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 jam-jars 1x
  • Category: Baking ingredients
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This is an unusual jelly which is flavoured with the fresh, floral scent of dandelions.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 150 dandelion flowers –  make sure that these have been grown somewhere that has not been treated with pesticides or fertilisers
  • 500 ml water
  • 500 g  jam sugar (this is caster sugar with added pectin)

Instructions

  1. Wash your dandelion flowers in a bowl of cold water to remove dirt and small insects.
  2. Cut the petals off the flowers just above the green sepals.  You do not want to include the green bits as these will be bitter.
  3. Put the petals into a heavy pan with 500 ml of water and heat to simmering point and then remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool. Then place the pan containing the water and petals in the fridge overnight.
  4. The next day, strain the liquid through a sieve to remove the petals and return it to your heavy pan.
  5. Add the jam sugar and bring to the boil.  Then allow to continue boiling for 10 minutes until the setting point is reached.  (You can judge the setting point by putting a saucer in your freezer before making the jelly.  Spoon some of the jelly onto the cold saucer and leave to cool.  If the surface of the jelly crinkles when you push it with your finger, it is ready.  If not, continue boiling and try again after a few more minutes).
  6. Remove from the heat and then pour into a sterilised jar.

Notes

Although preparation time is only 30 minutes, you will need to leave the mixture overnight (see step 3) to allow the flavour to infuse.

You can sterilise your jam-jar by washing it in warm, soapy water, rinsing well and then drying off for 15 minutes in an oven set at 140C/120C fan/gas 1.

Uses for  Dandelion Jelly:  Spread on crusty buttered bread; Use as cake filling.

Keywords: dandelion jelly

Yellow, shaggy dandelions
Dandelion flowers

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Rhubarb Curd and Rose Ice-cream

Rhubarb Curd and Rose Ice Cream

This Rhubarb Ice Cream is made from rhubarb curd flavoured with rosewater. It is a really quick and easy ice-cream which manages to taste both familiar and exotic and its soft pink colour looks wonderful!    Rhubarb and rose go very well together and each enhances the flavour of the other.  The sharpness of the rhubarb, the sweet floweriness of the rose plus soft billowing cream is a winning combination.    Don’t overdo the rose flavouring as you want it to balance and not over-power the taste of the rhubarb.  The ice-cream should make you think of an English summer garden – with a whisper of rose-water giving a hint of exotic Arabian Nights rather than a full-on Fry’s Turkish Delight flashback!

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What you need to know about this recipe

  • You can make this recipe with home-made Rhubarb Curd or with the shop-bought variety. If you have never made Rhubarb Curd, it is very easy and a lot cheaper than buying ready-made!
  • Although you can make this recipe without an ice cream maker, it is a lot easier if you have one. You can buy a basic ice cream maker fairly cheaply.
  • It is best to start this recipe the day before you eat it. This will mean that once you have made the basic custard, it will have time to chill down before you put it in the ice cream maker the next day.
  • You can also make this ice cream well in advance if that is more convenient. I generally make double the quantity and keep it in the freezer where it will last for up to three months.
  • As with most home-made ice creams, it helps to remove the container from the freezer about ten minutes before serving as this will make it easier to scoop.

Other home-made ice cream recipes

I am a great home-made ice cream enthusiast. I make it in the summer, of course, but am happy to eat it in winter too! There are some brilliant, shop-bought ice creams available but it is so easy to make your own. I like to experiment with flavours and some of my other ice cream recipes are listed below.

Loved this recipe? Checkout the Recipe Index.

Other rhubarb recipes

I love rhubarb and have lots of other rhubarb recipes. It makes a great jamcompote or fruit curd. It is also great in a crumble. Rhubarb is also good in many home-baking recipes such as Rhubarb Upside-down Cake, Rhubarb Crumble CakeRhubarb Bread and Butter PuddingRhubarb Victoria Sandwich Cake and Rhubarb Roulade. It also makes a good basis for cold desserts such as Rhubarb Curd and Rose Ice Cream or Rhubarb Fool. You can also use it to make Rhubarb Cordial and a pretty good Rhubarb Gin liqueur!

Loved this recipe? Checkout the Recipe Index.

Rhubarb Curd and Rose Ice Cream recipe

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Rhubarb, rose, cream

Rhubarb Curd and Rose Ice-cream

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Total Time: 30
  • Yield: for 6 people 1x
  • Category: Ice-cream
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This is a lovely ice-cream to make in early summer which combines the flavours of rhubarb and rose.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 600 g (1.5 lbs) Rhubarb Curd – you can either make your own (See my recipe for homemade Rhubarb Curd) or you can buy it in good supermarkets or food stores
  • 300 ml (Half a pint) double cream
  • A teaspoon of rosewater
  • A few drops of pink food colouring (optional)

Instructions

  1. Whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks.
  2. Stir in the Rhubarb Curd.
  3. Add a teaspoon of rose-water.
  4. Add a few drops of pink food colouring if you feel the mixture needs to be pinker!  This won’t be necessary if you have already added colouring to home-made  Curd.
  5. Put the ice-cream mixture in your ice-cream maker, process until thickened and transfer to a freezer-proof container and store in your freezer until required.  Alternatively, as outlined above, you can put the ice-cream mixture straight into the freezer if you don’t have an ice-cream maker.

Keywords: rhubarb ice-cream, rhubarb and rose ice-cream

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