In this lilac tea recipe, you use lilac flowers to infuse a simple syrup that flavors and sweetens a pitcher of your favorite blend of homemade iced tea.
Here in Vermont, lilacs are in full bloom, and it's a sure sign that summer is almost here. Lilacs have a strong and sweet aroma that's hard to miss. They smell so good you can't help but wonder how they might taste. Or is it just me?
are lilac flowers edible?
The good news is that lilacs are edible. The bad news is that the bloom season for lilacs is brief. It can last just a couple of weeks, depending on the variety. The common lilac plants bloom earlier, while other varieties can come later and last a little longer. But if you have some lilac plants in your yard and you haven't cut any flowers yet, get out there and do so now. They will soon be gone until next spring.
There are many ways to use lilac flowers in the kitchen. Like most flowers, I enjoy infusing their flavor into something else rather than directly eat the flowers.
Making lilac sugar is one of the easiest ways to impart its flavor. All you have to do is add some flowers to a container of sugar, shake it up, and let it sit for a few days. Then sift out the flowers, and you'll find that the sweet floral flavor of the lilac is now infused into your sugar. You can use lilac sugar in baking recipes, especially as a finishing sugar. Or maybe use it to coat the rim of a glass when making a refreshing summer cocktail.
lilac simple syrup
Personally, I gravitate to flavored simple syrups instead of flavored sugars. They're just as easy to make and are wonderful for flavoring iced drinks in the coming months.
To make a lilac simple syrup, combine a packed cup of lilac flowers with a cup of sugar and a cup of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil, stir to dissolve the sugar, and let simmer for five minutes. Then let the syrup cool for a half-hour in the pan before straining out the flowers.
When I'm not drinking coffee, you'll likely find me with a mug of tea. I have several containers of loose leaf teas that I'm committed to using for making pitchers of iced tea this summer. And a flavored lilac simple syrup would be a tasty addition.
how to make lilac tea
For a pitcher of lilac tea, I brew 6-8 cups of tea using one teaspoon of tea leaves per cup of boiling water. One teabag per cup also works if you have bags instead of loose tea. I let the tea steep for 3-5 minutes, then strain out the leaves and let cool. In a pitcher, I combine the tea with the lilac syrup. To serve, I pour the sweetened lilac tea over glasses of ice and serve with lemon.
The infused simple syrup makes a mild-tasting lilac tea. So if you're worried about it being overwhelmingly floral, there's no need. I actually suggest brewing your tea on the weaker side so that the lilac flavor can come through better. Too strong of a tea and you likely won't even taste the lilac flavor. I like to use black or green tea, though use whatever tea you prefer.
Who knew lilacs could taste so good? Aside from my lilac tea, this lilac cheesecake from the Unconventional Baker sounds delicious. I've also come across recipes for lilac jelly that I bet works really well in letting the lilac flavor shine.Print