My parents have lilac trees that line the edge of the driveway, the opposite side to where the front door was. I used to purposely walk by them when I got home from school because I loved the smell so much. My mom, also a fan of the smell, always had fresh cut ones in a vase. To this day I can still smell them when I walk in their house in the month of May.
We moved into our house at the end of September of this year; not great timing for figuring out what’s growing around you. As I discussed in my blog post about observing your land, spring is such a lovely time in a new place. Over the last 3-4 weeks we’ve had the pleasure of watching new plants grow and getting to know them.
There was this giant tree/bush beside the barn and I had plans of removing it to make way for an elderberry. Instead of rushing into the project, I decided to wait and see what it was first (because no one knew!). I am so glad I waited because it turns out it’s a beautiful lilac. Not only is the smell divine, it provides a great shelter and shade spot for the chickens. Moral of the story; your elderberries can go anywhere but lilacs are forever (or something like that).
One of my goals for our first year on our new homestead is to try and use what’s growing around me. With that in mind I tried my hand at making lilac syrup and I was NOT disappointment. Fragrant, sweet and delicate, this is quickly becoming my favourite water and drink flavour.
Here’s How I Did It
You will need access to lilac flowers. If you are hoping for a purple colour to your syrup you will need a variety that is dark in colour. If this isn’t available to you (mine are a very pale lavender), you can toss in a couple of blueberries for colouring. I did not have blueberries on hand so I opted for au natural. Personally I was going for taste and not colour, but if you want to impress some dinner guests, toss in those blueberries.
* Note: Ensure your lilacs have not be sprayed with anything nasty *
- 2 cups of lilac blossoms
- 2 cups of water
- 1 cup of sugar
- I used organic cane sugar. I’m sure honey or maple syrup would work but I didn’t want a strong flavoured sweetener to interfere with the lilac flavour.
- Add water and sugar to a pot and turn your heat on high
- Once the sugar has dissolved add your blossoms
- Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes
- Strain the flowers from your mixture and allow to cool
*Note: I filled mason jars and ran them through the water bath canner for 15 minutes. There are no canning standards for syrups like this, so if you choose to can, know this going forward. The syrup will last a few weeks in the fridge*
*Note: Some websites I saw used citric acid as a preservative for the syrup to keep longer. I opted for canning so I cannot speak to this*
For a kid friendly and non-boozy drink I made the following. It was refreshing and quite delicious.
- 250ml of fizzy water of choice (club soda, Perrier, soda stream etc).
- 1 tbsp of lilac syrup
- Squeeze of lime juice
Adult Beverage Recipe
Come on Correne! You promised us booze. Tis true and here I deliver.
- 1 ounce (30 ml) of vodka (vanilla, lime or raspberry are all good)
- 1 ounce (30 ml) of white rum
- 1 ounce (30 ml) of lilac syrup
- Fizzy water of choice (club soda, Perrier, soda stream etc)
- Ice and a lime wedge
Even the hubs liked this one folks! Definitely a keeper. This mama is very happy that I canned 5 jars of lilac syrup.