Lilac drink - Syringa saft

I have been an avid gardener for many years.  Gardening in Iceland is a challenge and many plants that I read about in foreign gardening books have a hard time growing here.  I use Latin names a lot because I read mostly English and Scandinavian books about gardening and common names can be so different between countries.  Up here in the north we have a short summer and the result is that many plants that are known as spring flowering in other countries, flower during summer here.  I think Syringa is one of those.  It is in flower in my garden right now and I just love the scent of it.

As a gardener I love flowers and most of all flowers that have a scent. So when I got interested in vegetable I got really, really, really interested in edible flowers.  Isn't it wonderful that not only can you look at flowers and smell them,  you can eat a lot of them too.

So I have been surfing the internet and scouring bookshelves for information on edible flowers.  I eat a lot of my plants already,  Chives flowers have a mild onion taste and look pretty in a salad as do the peppery tasting flowers of Tropaeolum.  Violas are lovely in a salad also as well as roses - and Borage flowers are a classic in drinks in summer.

The other day I found something new that I've never even heard of before.  I found a recipe for a drink made of Lilac flowers. It is Swedish and doesn't seem to be well known any other place.  I tried to eat the flowers of my Lilac, but they didn't taste very good.  This recipe is very much like many other drink recipes using all sorts of fruit.  These drinks are called "saft" in most Nordic languages. They are drunk as is or diluted with water depending on taste. The original recipe is for double this amount, but that is too much for me. I managed to gather about 20 flowering clusters just before they were turning brown.

Lilac saft

20 flower clusters
1 liter (about a quart) water
1 kg (about 2 pounds) sugar
1 lemon
25 g (slightly less than 1 oz.) citric acid

It may be smart to let the flowers lie on a white tablecloth for a little bit to allow the creepy clawlies to get away. You can also wash them in cold water in a salad spinner. Pull the small flowers from the stalks, at least the large ones, you can leave the small clusters. Put the flowers into a jar or a pot.
Boil the water with the sugar and pour it over the flowers while hot.

Wash the lemons well and peel off some of the rind, cut the lemon in two and squeeze out the juice. Mix the lemon rind, lemon juice and citric acid into the flower solution.

Put a lid on the flower mixture and let it stand in a cool place in 2-4 days. Stir the solution twice a day. Pour it into clean bottles and store in the fridge. This freezes well, but put it into a plastic bottle first.

The saft looks very pretty.  My Lilac is pink, so the saft is quite red but as I understand it, the blue or lavender Lilacs produce a very cool colour.  The taste is dry and refreshing, reminiscent of rhubarb and maybe grapes. Very distinct and different.  I have poured about an inch so so into a glass and filled up with ice cold water.  It tastes very good that way.  I'm pretty sure that it would be good with carbonated water as well and even with a bit of vodka.

The photos: I was really happy to find these big jars in the Good S... I bought a number of them and they are all filled with dried herbs. The other photo: My shed is great. We built it at the side of the house and in there I can store all my gardening stuff. I also have a hanging chair that I hang in the doorway so I can read or, even better, sleep in the evening sun.



  1. Compliments for your blog and pictures included, I invite you to see the photo blog,

    Each week released a new album

    Greetings from Italy


  2. It's hard to find anything about lilac because all the brewers I've spoken to about it says lilac is poisonous! Please doublecheck the source before drinking that; they used to add foxglove to beer ages ago and gods knows that wasn't very safe either.

  3. Ivo - Thanks
    Hathor's Bath. It's not poisonous. I have drunk many glasses of it in one day and with no ill effects. It's delicious, actually. This is well known in Sweden and I have also found some info from Denmark. I should have provided some links: This is one of many from Sweden that gives recipes for saft, sobet, sirup and butter:
    Here is a Danish one with a recipe for both saft and sorbet:
    And a website in English about edible flowers and Lilac is listed.
    So try it out :). But make sure that your bush hasn't been spayed with pesticides.

  4. Hi Ambra that sounds so there anything you can't do? haha
    seriously though your very creative..

  5. Lol Edith - I decidedly do not repair cars :)


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