In the springtime I LOVE collecting lilacs around the neighbourhood to make delicious recipes with and bring in as bouquets too! We used to dry them to add to one of our very first soap recipes when plantiful was a very new company, our lilac & lavender castile soap bars in the past.
One of our favourite ways lately to use lilacs that I want to share with you is to make a cordial syrup for summer sodas!
Lilacs are just starting to get ready here in Edmonton, so once I make this recipe this year, I'll add some photos of the steps for you. But here is a beautiful picture of what your syrup can look like!
Lilac Cordial Syrup - 2 ways
METHOD 1: The first way, which is the most common way to make a lilac cordial syrup is to heat filtered water, cane/white sugar, lemon juice and lilac florets. Then, let them simmer for a few minutes, then remove from heat, cool, and strain.
METHOD 2: The second way, is to first make a simple syrup using a ratio of 1:1, or 1:1.5, then steep the lilac florets in the syrup. To do this, I heat filtered water, white/cane sugar, and (citric acid or lemon juice), then let it cool and add the lilac florets, and hibiscus flowers to infuse for 24-48 hours in the fridge.
I've tried both ways and they are equally delicious. Method 2 would require extra fridge space, but if you have that, it can be handy and less time on the stove if it's a hot day and you would rather not be in the kitchen.
- 2 cups lightly packed fresh picked lilac florets (green stems removed)
- 1 cup white/cane sugar
- 1 cup filtered water
- 2 tsp. lemon juice or 1 tsp. citric acid
- For colour, a sprinkle of dried hibiscus flowers, a couple blueberries or blackberries.
- In a saucepan, heat water and sugar bringing to a gentle simmer or until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in lemon juice/ citric acid. Let it cool.
- In the meantime, start prepping your flowers by making sure you remove all the bugs, in case there are any. Don't rinse the flowers under water since they will lose a lot of flavour.
- Next, remove the tiny florets from your fresh lilacs making sure to also remove the tiny green stems, so you are only left with the purple florets. If you don't remove them, it will make the syrup taste bitter. (Trust me, its worth the extra effort. I didn't remove them the first time thinking it wouldn't make that much of a difference, but I ended up with a bitter cordial. Recipe fail. No one liked it.)
- Next, add the florets to a jar and pour over the cooled sugar syrup. Using a spoon, push the florets towards the bottom and make sure that almost all of them are covered in syrup. Put the lid on. Give a gentle shake if you like.
- Put the jar in the fridge and let the florets steep in the syrup for 24-48 hours. Stir a few times or give a gentle shake during this time. Taste the syrup after 24 hours and if it is saturated enough for your taste, then strain it. If not, leave the jar in the fridge for up to another 24 hours.
- When the infusion is complete, pour the syrup through a mesh strainer line with cheesecloth. The cheesecloth helps to reduce the amount of pollen, which can influence the shelf life negatively.
- The final step is optional depending on how long you want to preserve the syrup for. If you want it to keep longer than a few weeks in the fridge, you will need to boil and can the syrup like you would a jam. To do this, bring the syrup to a rolling boil and then bottle it in sterilized jars or bottles. If you don’t boil it, the syrup will keep a few weeks in the fridge. The cooked syrup will keep for several months in the fridge.
Serve with club soda or sparkling water if desired like shown here. It's a very lovely way to enjoy lilacs and helps us connect with the seasons and our plant friends in new ways!
If you try it, let me know!
Recipe adapted from: https://www.lilvienna.com/lilac-syrup/