Lilac Infused Sugar is one of those things you didn’t know you needed until you have it. Combine the two and watch the magic happen! Over the course of a few days, the sugar strips the lilac petals of all their moisture and scent. The sugar can then be used anywhere sugar is used!
Before we get started, I should note that much of the text you’re about to read is pretty much a duplicate of what I wrote in my Lilac Syrup post a few days ago. Feel free to skip right on past and find the recipe for Lilac Infused Sugar at the bottom of this post. Lilacs are in full bloom right now, and if you’re lucky enough to have a few trees near your house, I’m sure you can smell that lovely fragrance. Did you know that lilac petals are edible? Lilac Infused Sugar is made with fully-bloomed lilac petals and is a great way to make the most of your lilacs trees.
A few years ago, when we bought our house, we were quite surprised in the early summer to see that the back corner of our backyard had a nice row of pink and purple lilac trees. Little did I know that I would look forward to those beauties blooming every year, more so now that I have tasted this Lilac Infused Sugar! You see, I have major seasonal allergies and flowers is just one of those things that triggers me.
Lilacs don’t have much of an effect on me though. Outdoors, I love the fresh smell. And, I will cut a few branches to bring inside for a table-top centerpiece. Within a few hours, the entire house smells like lilacs, and I love it! Here are two photos of my arrangements this year.
LILACS ARE EDIBLE
I’ve seen images on social media where food has been decorated with lilacs. It seems to be very common on muffins, loaves, and cookies. At first glance, I thought it was just for decoration. Then, when I learned that we had lilac trees of our own, I read more about them. That’s when I learned that they are edible.
In today’s post, I’m sharing my Lilac Infused Sugar recipe with you. Once you have made this sugar, you can use it anywhere you would normally use sugar. Will the fragrance be super intense like an actual bunch of lilacs? No. But, the sweet, floral tones will be there, just in a lower dose.
Have you ever heard someone say, “This tastes like it smells.” That’s mostly the experience you will have with Lilac Infused Sugar. That fresh, early summer fragrance, is captured in the sugar, and therefore, is imparted in whatever you use your sugar in – which, for the most part will cookies, frostings, or even lilac infused lemonade!
HOW TO GATHER LILACS
If you are planning to consume lilacs, you will have to choose which side of the lilac debate you will want to support. There are some people who firmly believe that you have to wash them first. I do not share that belief. I have tried it and not only does it make the petals impossible to work with, the fragrance and essence of the petals are basically washed down the drain.
Here are the suggestions that I have followed. These are suggestions that I have read over the past two years from others who have prepared lilacs to eat. First, only use lilac petals from a tree that you know 100% has not been sprayed or treated with chemicals. Secondly, pick petals from trees that are not close to busy streets or highways. Those petals will be dirty with gas and diesel residue.
If you can find those, then do not wash the petals. You will want to cut away a few branches from the tree using pruning shears. Don’t break the branches with your hands or saw at them with a knife. This will damage the tree and you will want the tree to stay healthy for years to come. Oh, it’s also best to harvest the lilacs in the morning before it gets too hot. The petals have more moisture content in the mornings.
SEPARATING THE PETALS FROM THE STEMS
So, I know that lilacs look gorgeous spilling out of large vases. And, I know that the little jar of Lilac Infused Sugar looks inviting and intriguing. But, that’s the reward, people. Once you have located your lilacs, and cut away a few branches, comes the hard part. Removing the petals from the stems is certainly not hard work, but it’s tedious! This is how I do it.
Once I have cut the branches, I like to hold each branch upside down and firmly shake it. This will get rid of any blooms that are past their prime, and will get rid of some of the dead or dried up petals. Lilacs also provide housing and nourishment for bumblebees and some not so cute and fuzzy insects. Shaking the branches will get rid of those unsightly critters.
Next, find a nice shady spot on your back deck. Fetch a cold drink and get ready to harvest. Working with one bunch of lilacs at at time, hold the top of the petal and pull. The purplish-pink petal should release from the stem. The idea is to leave behind all traces of green. If you get a few bits of green, it won’t do any harm. But, too much will throw off the taste of your syrup.
This process is long and labourious. To make this sugar, you will need one cup of packed lilac petals for every cup of sugar that you want to make. That doesn’t seem like much, but it takes some time. You should learn from my mistakes too, because I did not sit in the shade. I ended up getting a sunburn!
When is all is said and done, the Lilac Infused Sugar is beautifully fragrant and sweet. You can use it in just about anything that needs sweetening. It can be baked into cookies or cakes. It’s a wonder addition to scones! And, as mentioned above, you can use it instead of regular sugar in a homemade lemonade. Delicious! Here’s how to make Lilac Infused Sugar!
Lilac Infused Sugar
- 1 cup lightly packed lilac petals
- 1 cup sugar
- In a glass jar, place one quarter of the lilac petals in an even layer at the bottom.
- Spoon over 1/4 cup of the sugar.
- Repeat with another layer of lilacs and another layer of sugar. Continue until the last layer of sugar is sprinkled over top.
- DO NOT COVER the jar. Rather, lay a light napkin over top and set the jar aside out of direct sunlight.
- The lilacs will infuse the sugar for five days. It is important to gently stir the sugar and lilac mixture every morning, otherwise the moisture from the lilacs will cause the sugar to harden.
- Each day, you will notice that the lilacs begin to wilt, brown, and finally, by the fourth of fifth day, they will be shriveled and dried. The sugar is ready to use.
- You can leave the dried lilacs in, however, it isn't very pretty. Pour the contents into a fine-mesh colander with a bowl underneath. Use a spoon to push the sugar through the mesh, leaving the dried lilac petals behind.
- Store sugar in a clean jar with a tight fitting lid. Use as you normally use sugar. Will keep in pantry for up to a year.