In Spring at our farmhouse the air is filled with the perfume of sweet smelling lilacs. They are a short lived gift, however, and I have often wondered how I could preserve them for enjoyment later.
Now I know, and so will you because I am going to share my recipe with you!
What you will need:
A good sized stock pot
A glass container to hold your syrup (Canning jars work just fine)
A wooden or stainless steel spoon
Fresh or Frozen blueberries ( about 10-12 for each cup of water)
1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar for every 2 cups of lilac blossoms.
This is not an exact science. If you want to use less sugar you can, it just won't be as sweet. Likewise, you can use less lilacs. This is just a general guideline.
Keep syrup in the refrigerator. It should keep for a couple of weeks. You can also freeze it for use later ( I am thinking February when it is snowing outside. How nice that would be!)
First off, you need to pick the blossoms when they are at their peek. You don't want to use them if they have wilted and turned brown. You need to pick at least a couple of cups of blossoms. Next, you should rinse them off to make sure they are free from dust and bugs. Gently dry them or let them air dry on a clean towel.
The next step is the most time consuming. Remove the blossoms from the stems being careful not to include any greenery. Trust me, you don't want to have it in the syrup solution as it will turn it bitter.
Now measure how many cups of blossoms you have. This will determine how much syrup you can make. If you have more than you want to make right now, or would like to add more to your harvest, simply put the lilac blossoms in a glass bowl and cover with a paper towel and then a glass lid ( or a plate works too). The blossoms will stay fresh for a few days in the refrigerator this way.
So now you can measure out the water, sugar and blueberries based on your need. Put these along with the lilac petals in a saucepan and bring to just below a simmer. Heat just long enough to dissolve the sugar, stirring constantly and pressing the blueberries along the side so they release their juices. Turn off the stove and remove the pan from the heat. Cover and let cool completely.
Once cool, strain the syrup through several layers of cheesecloth into a clean glass container ( sterilized is even better) and it is ready for use! Some of my favorite ways to enjoy this sweet smelling, sugary purple goodness is over vanilla bean ice cream, in herbal hot tea, and mixed with ice and club soda ( a little vodka or gin would be good in this one!). It is lovely in lemonade too!