A few years back a friend of mine who was out of the town for the glorious Minnesota lilac season asked if anybody could make her some lilac honey. There’s just nothing like the smell of fresh bloomed lilacs, and they only last for about a week. There’s no artificial scent that smells anything like them, and there’s really no way to preserve the smell. Her thought was that lilac infused honey was about as close as she was going to get. I’d never heard of it, but I LOVE flowers so it sounded like something I would be interested in. I did a little research and figured out how to make it. I figured as long as I was making her a jar, I might as well make a few more. I kept one for us, and sold a few to a friends. There was a ton of demand so the next year I made even more honey, and the following year I made even more. It doesn’t take very long to make a jar or two, but making a few dozen jars ended up taking a good part of a day which I don’t want to do this year, so I’m just going to share the “recipe” and you can make it yourself if you’d like. It’s incredibly easy.
Folks will tell you to find out if the flowers have been sprayed. Who sprays lilacs? Maybe they do in the rich suburbs, but I ain’t never seen anybody spray ANYTHING in my neighborhood. I do try to avoid bushes next to busy roads. I’d prefer my honey to not taste like car exhaust. Folks will also tell you not to steal your neighbors’ flowers. I have my own elaborate set of self-imposed rules about flowers. You’ll have to figure out for yourself what you’re comfortable with.
In the past I used to mix my stories and opinions in with the step-by-step. I’ve since learned that people don’t like that, and in fact will gripe about my little story time introduction. Know what though? Those ungrateful fucks can go buy their flower honey at a farmer’s market or something.
Make sure you have raw honey and clean jars on hand before you start picking flowers. You want the flowers to be as fresh as possible.
Pick bunches of lilacs that are fully opened, but not yet turning brown. The best looking (and smelling) flowers make the best tasting honey.
Next remove the flowers from the stem. Some of the articles I read suggested cutting them off with a scissors. I found that pulling the flowers off by hand went quicker and left less stem.
Fill your jar to the top with flowers. (I’ve used as small as 4 ounce and up to 1 quart jars with success) You can have them sit loosely or pack them down a bit. You don’t want them packed tight, but the more flowers you get in your jar, the more of the flower essence you’ll have in your honey.
Pour honey over the flowers almost to the top of the jar. Let sit for a few minutes so the air in the flowers can bubble to the top, then add more honey if needed to fill the jar and screw the cap on.
The flowers will float to the top of the jar, eventually forming just a thin mat of flowers at the top of the honey. The honey should sit for a least 7 days before being used. For the first few days I like to turn the jar upside down once a day to let the flowers float up and mix with the honey a bit.
When you’re ready to use the honey, you scan scoop out the flowers if you’d like, or leave them in. They’re edible. If you use a good quality honey, it will keep for months. I’ve opened up a jar that was sitting in the cupboard for a year, and the honey was still perfect.
Use as you would any other honey, but it’s especially good in tea or mixed drinks. Throw some edible flowers on top of your drinks to really fancy it up!