Full of intoxicating aromas, and currently blossoming in every color of a palette that makes me think of true Unicorns (boo, Starbucks!), I've taken the past week to really get to know this beautiful flower.
Lilacs are definitely medicinal, but from what I've read, most of the traditions around Lilac as medicine has to do with malaria. But what I've realized is that Lilac has energetic medicine that touches so many people. Why else would mere photographs of Lilacs elicit so many olfactory, nostalgic memories in so many people? Several folks wrote to me this week telling me how the Lilac reminded them of their Grandmother, or their childhood. In fact, part of Lilac's medicine is to help balance nostalgia and elements of us clinging to the past. Maybe Lilac helps us harmonize nostalgia with living in the present!
Lilac also bloomed right in time for the New Moon in Taurus, and both Lilacs and the sign of Taurus remind us to value pleasure. The pleasure of life, no matter how fleeting, the pleasure of love and romance. Since today is May Day, it's even more appropriate to be posting this. May Day has many traditions associated with it from all over world, but a common theme is the celebration of Spring, and flowers. Anyway, no matter what your connection is to this flower, if you love it, you will be thrilled to know it's totally edible, and I want to share some of the recipes that emerged from me playing with Lilac this week.
Harvesting Lilacs: I've had some fun encounters with neighbors and random people in Portland who have been so generous with sharing their unsprayed Lilacs with me. Make sure you're not just stealing from someone's beloved stash, and definitely make sure they haven't been sprayed with chemicals. Lilacs are a really delicate flower, so if you're harvesting them to making something with them, gather just enough for the recipe, and process them the same day. Otherwise, they will brown and go off, and that's sad.
This is a very popular recipe, and since a friend gifted me some Meyer lemons, I figured it was a perfect match! This recipe is simple to make, but takes 3 total infusions, so just a little bit of patience. What you need:
- 2.5 cups of Vodka
- 1/2 cup White Rum
- 3-6 Lilac Clusters
- 1.5 cups Meyer Lemon Simple Syrup
Remove all the flowers from 1 to 2 clusters of fresh fragrant lilacs. The idea is to get as much of the stem off of the blossoms as you can. Add the flowers to the vodka/rum mixture in a clean glass jar. Cover, shake it up, and store in a dark place for 12 hours. Strain the blossoms out and compost them. Repeat this process two more times with the same base. (It might make sense to freshly harvest the clusters 3 different times since lilacs are delicate and rot pretty quickly).
During the third infusion, make the simple syrup. Add the zest and juice of one Meyer lemon to a saucepan with 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water, heat over a low flame until sugar is fully dissolved, remove zest, let syrup cool.
Combine the strained infusion with 1.5 cups of the lemon simple syrup and store in a clean glass bottle in a dark place for 5 days before use.
Lilac Ice Cream
I totally made this recipe up on my own, but I was so pleased with the results! It's amazing that even such a delicate scent came through in flavor. Since I only have a Vitamix and not an ice cream maker, I used what I've got. But if you have an ice cream maker, use it!
What you need:
- 1 cup fresh lilac blossoms
- 1.5 cups unsweetened almond milk
- ice cube tray
- Vitamix/high powered blender
- 1/2 cup sugar
First make your Lilac Milk. Add 1 cup of Lilac Blossoms and 1.5 cups of almond milk to the Vitamix. Blend on high for 30 seconds. Strain milk. Fill one ice cube tray with milk, and refrigerate the rest. When the ice cubes are fully frozen, combine the cubes with the remaining milk and sugar to the Vitamix. Blend on the "frozen dessert" selection (or start low and move to high), until the mixture is thick. Scoop into a bowl and enjoy immediately!
*note depending on size of the ice cubes, you may want more or less. you will be able to see based on how the blending goes*
Similar to the ice cream, this was the outcome of me playing around with Lilacs and almond milk. If you have a Vitamix and don't want to rush to enjoy the ice cream, this might be your better bet.
Make Lilac milk and ice cubes as instructed above. Add 6 Lilac milk ice cubes and 1 cup of Lilac almond milk, 1/4 cup sugar to the Vitamix, blend on high until frothy and smooth. Decant into your favorite glass, add some Lilac blossoms for flair, and enjoy!
I have more Lilac Tricks up my sleeve in the form of Lilac Sweet Elixir, Lilac Cordial, & Lilac Flower Essences. If you don't have the time but love Lilacs, I'm offering my Lilac Bundle here.