In spring, the earth seems to sing its pleasure at the retreat of the frost and snow, as if awakened from a spell. The songbirds arrive and start each day with their giddy banter, where a month earlier there was just hush. In Vermont this transformation comes quick, one minute we are shrouded in ice, seemingly the next the trees are festooned with blooms. Happily this is where I find myself this week, when the lilac blossoms are bursting and the air is sweet with their intoxicatingly joyful scent.
I am now lucky enough to have the luxury of a large old lilac hedge on one side of our garden. I no longer have to sneak round with pruners in hand, hoping to gather enough of this fleeting indulgence. This year, with blooms at the ready, I decided to see how else lilac can be enjoyed. Which led me first to food…
Lilacs are edible, their intense scent making them a perfect choice for infusing into other things. The very simplest of these is Lilac Sugar.
Clean, dry lilac petals
A lidded container or jar.
Simply layer the lilac and sugar in a jar and set it in a cool dark place for a few days, shaking it occasionally. I used 1 cup of sugar to 1/2 cup of lilac petals. After a few days it is ready to use. It’s perfect for baking, to rim a cocktail glass, swirl into tea, or add when whipping cream to top fresh berries. I can’t wait to come up with ways to use it. A beautiful way to save the season.
All images by Joanna Revers of FINDING SHIBUSA.