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Are Lilacs Edible? 20+ Delicious recipes to eat Lilac flowers

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Make the most of edible lilac blossoms during the season with the ultimate collection of lilac recipes, including lilac syrup, jelly, baked goods, drinks, and cocktails.

You don’t really notice lilacs all year long, not even when the first flowers like snowdrops, violets, or dandelions start to pop up. But when spring is in full bloom, lilacs dazzle, not only with their beauty and fragrance. 

In the small village where we live on the edge of Lake Geneva, hundreds display all possible colors, from violet and pink to dark purple. While most people enjoy their beauty, I’m impatiently looking forward to every spring when I can use the flowers in my favorite jelly or syrup. 

Are Lilacs Edible?

Are Lilacs edible?

Yes, you’re right, lilacs are edible, and not only that, they are also tasty and have medicinal properties that are a shame to miss out on. 

Be careful to only use flowers from the Common Lilac, not a Persian Lilac or Chinaberry bush.

Medicinal uses of lilacs

Syringa vulgaris, also known as the lilac or common lilac, is widely grown as a large shrub or small tree. Cultivated primarily for ornamental purposes, it has some traditional medicinal uses. However, scientific evidence for its medicinal benefits is limited. 

Lilac has been used in traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties, which may help alleviate symptoms associated with inflammation.

Some studies suggest that lilac contains compounds such as flavonoids and polyphenols with antioxidant properties, which could help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body.

The aroma of lilac flowers is often associated with relaxation and stress relief, and it may be used in aromatherapy for this purpose.

making lilac SYRUP

Foraging for edible flower Lilac

Lilacs, belonging to the olive family, include a variety of Syringa species, each with unique characteristics and colors. The name “Syringa” originates from the Greek “Syringos,” meaning pipe or tube, a nod to the shape of the petals’ base. Japanese tree lilac stands out among the diverse varieties. If you are confused, check the differences between lilac and lavender.

Lilacs are in full bloom in springtime from May to June, depending on your location. The edible part of the common lilac bush is the fragrant and sweet flowers.

When preparing lilacs for consumption, it is crucial to select blossoms untainted by pesticides or chemicals. The best blooms are from your own garden. 

Gather the blooms on a sunny day. Don’t wash the blossoms; inspect them and manually remove any debris or insects, preserving the precious pollen that carries the fragrance and flavor. Allow the flowers to sit outdoors briefly to allow bugs to leave before use.

Lilac tea

Preserving Lilac

Lilac flowers only bloom in a short window, so one way to capture their floral taste is to dry them. 

Let the flowers dry overnight on a paper towel or net to let most of the moisture evaporate. Keep them out of direct sunlight and rotate them until they achieve a crispy texture. Once the lilac blossoms have dried thoroughly, transfer them to a sterilized jar. Seal the jar tightly to maintain freshness and store it in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. Note that dried material will not retain the fragrance as much as fresh blooms. 

With proper storage, dried lilac blossoms can last up to one year and you can use them in various recipes. See examples below.

lilac jelly - process

Edible Lilac Recipes or How to Eat a Lilac?

You can use these edible and medicinal lilac florets in a variety of recipes.

Lilac Tea

The simplest way to enjoy lilac’s intoxicating scent and calming properties is by making lilac tea. Hot or cold-brewed lilac flower tea is a seasonal treat that you can enjoy during the day. Once you harvest one Lilac blossom from your lilac bush, place the florets in a teapot or kettle. Bring a cup of water to a boil and pour boiling water over the blossoms. There is no need to boil the flowers; just steep them instead. Cover the mixture with a lid and let it steep for 10 minutes. Next day, strain the lilac-infused water through the the fine mesh strainer and add sweetener or your choice. Longer brews will be more potent and darker colors.

Lilac jelly
Lilac jelly

Lilac simple syrup recipe

Lilac blossoms are excellent for creating soothing lilac tea. However, suppose you wish to preserve their fragrance and floral flavor beyond their blooming season. In that case, you can make lilac syrup recipe.

To make the syrup, steep the lilac florets overnight in cold, pre-boiled water along with 2-3 slices of unwaxed (organic) lemon. The next day, strain the infused water through a muslin cloth or strainer and add your sweetener.

lilac SYRUP
Lilac Syrup

Lilac Jelly

Once you have the syrup, you need one more ingredient to turn it into jelly: pectin. Pectin is a natural substance found in fruits and acts as a thickening agent when making jelly. Combining the lilac syrup with pectin and following a simple cooking process can transform it into delicious lilac jelly. Ladle the jelly into your prepared jars and you a great DIY gift for Mother’s day.

Lilac Wine

If you are fond of floral wines, you will appreciate the fruity and slightly sweet lilac wine. It requires some fermenting skills, but the result is nothing short of spectacular!

Lilac Sugar

Easy way to enjoy lilac delicate floral scent is to make lilac sugar. You can add a tiny bit of food coloring and use the sugar to make Shortbread cookies or to sweeten your tea.

lilac shortbread cookies
lilac shortbread cookies

Candied Lilac Blossoms

Candied lilac flowers are a yummy and enjoyable way to eat them! Just wait a bit, and soon, you’ll have pretty and tasty flowers that you can use to decorate your desserts or add a special touch to your dishes.

Lilac Ice Cream, Custards, Shortbread, Cakes, Pudding, and More

This is a lovely way to add a lilac flavor to baked goods or desserts.

One way is to soak fresh lilac flowers in cream to make floral milk for cake, buttercream, creamy lattes, or homemade ice cream.

If you like floral ice creams, get inspired with over 10 flower ice cream recipes.

Add the lilacs to decorate cakes or lilac donuts 

Lilac Rice Pudding or Lilac Pospicles are other creative ways to use these wild edible lilac blossoms.

lilac ice cream

Lilac Honey Recipe

Like most edible plants, lilacs are great when infused in honey, preferably local honey.

Lilac Drinks

These edible flowers make a great addition to various drinks such as:

Spiked blackberry lilac lemonade

Lilac Gin Cocktail

Lilac Liqueur

other than edible uses of Lilac flowers

Lilac extracts may be used in skincare products to soothe and nourish the skin. They may also have astringent properties, helping to tighten pores and reduce excess oil. Some studies suggest that lilac extracts may have antimicrobial properties, which could help fight certain bacterial or fungal infections.

ilac oil

Lilac Oil

when you want to implement lilacs in your skincare routine, make lilac oil. With traditional infusion method, you can make a fragrant lilac oil that you can later use in face cream or Lilac Milk Bath. Place the jar in a cool and dark place where you can see it. 

lilac recipes
Vladka Merva on March 15th, 2024

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