I love lilacs almost as much as I love chocolate. They have finally started to bloom here and I have been opening windows and spending as much time in the yard as possible to catch their unique scent.
When we bought this house, in fall, I was sure the bush in the back was lilacs. I was delighted come spring to find the bush full of beautiful purple blossoms. It is clearly an older lilac bush. It must be about 15 feet tall and 12 feet long and about 4 feet wide. It’s right next to our deck, which is raised, and the lilacs are right there, which is lovely. I love having my morning meal next to them.
Besides being so beautiful, I did some baking and making with lilacs. They are edible, and while slightly bitter, they do add a unique and interesting floral flavour and smell to things.
I have to admit, this post doesn’t have much chocolate in it, but the next batch of scones I bake has some cocoa nibs in the recipe instead of the almonds. However it is crazy hot here, so the dough from batch two went into the freezer to bake on a cooler day.
So, in my all things lilac fest, I made lilac almond scones, lilac syrup, lilac honey, lilac sugar, and lilac bath salts. Lilacs always remind me of home, of growing up in Winnipeg, walking to school down a lane that was bordered by lilac bushes. Such a beautiful smell announcing the arrival of summer time.
I had actually hoped to have lilacs at my wedding, and tried to plan around their opening. Sadly they disappointed me and opened their blossoms two days after our wedding. Luckily I had a back-up plan, knowing that lilacs open whenever they choose, not when I want.
The one thing about lilacs is that they are here for such a short time, so I do go a bit overboard to get my fill.
Lilacs are a thing of beauty, and as much as I love enjoying them as a beautiful bunch, they had to be taken apart before I could cook and create with them. I spent more than an hour cutting the flowers off the stems. The green part at the bottom of the flower, where it attaches to the stem, makes the lilacs taste bitter, so I patiently cut each tiny flower off its stalk.
This took awhile, but the process was beautiful, and watching my measuring cup fill up was a reward in itself. I enjoyed cutting, washing, and drying each batch so I can use it to create something.
I have cut a bunch or five each day this week in my quest to save and use all the lilacs so I can enjoy them year round. Taking them off the stems is a bit tedious but the smell makes it worthwhile. I do love the smell of lilacs.
Some lilacs went into honey, which I will steep for a week or two until I like the flavour, and then I will strain out the lilacs and use the honey until it is gone.
Other lilacs went into sugar, which I am shaking every time I walk by. To mix it up, but also to keep the sugar from sticking as the moisture in the lilacs is absorbed.
I also made scones. I looked around at several recipes and altered them a bit and ended up with a not bad batch. The second batch I made is a bit different as it used coconut milk and cacao nibs instead of buttermilk and almonds. I’m not really one for following recipes exactly, and it looks like it will work out nicely, however I will wait until the heat has lowered before I bake them.
The first batch of scones are just lovely though. Full of lilacs, almonds and a hint of vanilla, topped with lilac honey they were delicious. I had them for breakfast several times this week. They pair perfectly with a nice iced hot chocolate.
Wanting something for the heat, I made some lilac water to sip on as well as a lilac syrup that I hope to make some fancy drinks with in the near future. I’m also steeping lilacs now to maybe make a cordial with soon. Why not, right? It’s a flavour I love and want to explore more of.
We enjoyed a lilac themed afternoon tea when the scones were ready. We had the lilac almond scones with lilac honey on them and a lemon ginger kombucha on the side. It really was a lovely tea time.
On the not in the kitchen side of things, I added two cups of lilacs to a huge container of Epson salts and will shake it every so often and let it sit about a month before I pour some into the tub for a relaxing bath. The scent will take me right back to the fresh lilacs in my garden.
Have you baked or eaten lilacs? Do you enjoy flowery flavours?