cooking with lilacs

Cooking with Lilacs

Lilac Blossoms, Steeping in Vinegar

Since the lilacs are in bloom, I decided to preserve some of them and make lilac infused vinegar. As long as they are grown where chemicals haven’t been sprayed, lilacs blossoms are edible. The flavor is floral, with a touch of spice.

I use the lilac vinegar in salad dressings, marinades and in pickling. I like to add a splash to soups or chili, to brighten them up. I also use lilac vinegar as a base for lilac jelly.

Lilac Vinegar

To make lilac vinegar, just place clean lilac blossoms in a jar and cover with red wine vinegar.* Put a lid on the jar and store in a cupboard for 10 days or longer. Ideally, you want at least one cup of blossoms for every 2 cups of vinegar- to get enough lilac flavor into the vinegar. A one to one ratio- one cup blossoms, one cup vinegar, will give you an even more flavorful vinegar in the end.

When ready to use, strain out the blossoms and discard them. Pour the vinegar through a coffee filter to get out any remaining plant material. You can transfer the lilac vinegar to a decorative bottle. It can be stored at room temperature but will hold its color longer if kept cool, even refrigerated.

* always use vinegar that is 5% acidity. You can use white wine vinegar, cider vinegar or whatever vinegar you like.

Lilac Salad

4-6 cups mixed salad greens, washed and spun dry

Olive oil

Lilac vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Edible flowers, optional

Place greens in a salad bowl. Drizzle with a little olive oil and toss until leaves look glossy. Drizzle with a little lilac vinegar and toss. Season with salt and pepper and toss again. Add flowers, if desired and place in serving bowls.

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