When we first moved into our cottage around 3 and a half years ago, the front hedge was all of a piece, and it wasn’t until I took a closer look at it that I realised that we had a lilac tree desperately trying to put on some growth in the front corner, and another small one by the gate. A couple of years of benign neglect later, and the trees are finally starting to come good – the one by the gate is now a sturdy little sapling with its first creamy white flowers this year, and the one in the corner has turned into a robust shrub, which this year is absolutely smothered in incredibly aromatic flowers. I’ve been doing some research into what I can do with those flowers, and lilac honey was just one of the intriguing recipes that came up.
It is really very simple to make – all you need is two or three heads of open, sun dry flowers, and a jar of honey. Pick the flowers off their stems and pile them into a clean, dry jar, then pour over the honey. I suggest topping up the flowers in the honey regularly – they do wilt down over time, and the jar that started off full will often only have a small amount of flowers in after a day. Put the lid on, and keep an eye on it – you may need to turn it upside down occasionally to keep the flowers covered and infusing. The scent begins to infuse into the honey almost immediately, and it doesn’t take long before the whole jar will smell and taste deliciously of spring. This will store for a good amount of time in the store cupboard – you can leave the flowers in as they are edible, or, after a while, you should be able to lift them off the top of the honey with a spoon.