Lilac drink - Syringa saft
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.
20 flower clusters
1 liter (about a quart) water
1 kg (about 2 pounds) sugar
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.
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.