Lilac Simple Syrup

Where I live in the more northerly-regions, the massive lilac bushes in my yard hit peak bloom this past week. Everything smells of lilacs. I cut armloads of blooms and filled the house with blossoms.
On every surface, a vase.

Lilac season is so short—the blooms open, flourish, close, and die in a matter of days, and they won’t flood the world with their color or fragrance for another year. So my fanaticism is totally justified. This year I decided to take things a step further, and devise some way to hang onto that amazing lilac essence just a bit longer.
As with violets, nasturtiums, lavender, and many other blooms, lilac blossoms are edible and their gorgeous color and fragrance lend a unique flavor to anything you bake them into. (Shortbread is my particular favorite).

This week I took it a step further and concocted a simple syrup. It’s versitle, keeps for quite some time, and looks absolutely lovely bottled. Sadly, the farmhouse lilacs (traditional blooms, large, light purple, unbiquitious to farmfields and in quiet rural neighborhoods) have finished blooming for this season. However, there are several varieties that bloom a bit later and you will still be able to find them this season (at least if you live in zone 2 in the US). These varities include the smaller, more vibrant Purple Dwarf lilacs and the white-bloomed French lilac. Both of these varities will also serve beautifually for this recipe.


4 cups water
4 cups granulated white sugar
4 cups tightly-packed flower blossoms, green parts and stems removed.
4-5 blueberries (for color)

In a large saucepan, combine sugar and water and bring to a light simmer until all the sugar has disolved. Add the flowers and berries and simmer for another 6-8 minutes until the blooms are wilted and the water is a soft purple-blue color, and fragrant.
• Note: The water will smell strong and floral but not particularly like lilacs due to its concentration. When the syrup is added to food the lilac essence will be obvious and unmistakeable.


Strain the syrup through cheese cloth until it is clear. Allow to cool, and then bottle. It can be stored in the refrigerator for weeks, or if canned, for months.

I use the syrup to flavor my coffee, and it is also lovely over ice cream, served with carbonated water (as a lilac soda), in all manner of baked goods, and in coctails!

Date and prune syrup

Chemical-free, gluten-free, sugar-free sweeteners are hard to come by outside of honey and maple syrup. I mean, what’s sweeter than sugar, Sugar? And as much as I’m a sugar fiend myself, I’m trying to lay off because that stuff doesn’t do me any favors in the long run—mentally, emotionally, or physically.
Now, honey and maple syrup (all natural) are great substitutes for sugar. Honey is especially beneficially due to all of it’s ‘magic.’ However, if you’re trying to avoid those kinds of sweeteners as well, a totally fruit-based sweetener is a great alternative. Enter dates and prunes—the sugar sources of the fruit world. You can make a thick, sticky, sweet syrup from a combination of these two. It works as a fantastic sugar substitute in paleo baking (flourless pumpkin bars, anyone?) or, like me, in your coffee!



You’ll need dried, organic, dates and prunes for this recipe. Water, a blender, and a storage container—a Ball canning jar works great. The ratio of dried fruit to water is 1 to 2—I’ve used cup measurements, but you can make as large a batch as you want based on that ratio. Also, I’ve found the mixture thickens to a near jelly consistency as it cools, so you can add water until you’re happy with the consistency. Just keep in mind that more water dilutes the sweetness.

Toss 1/2 cup of dried organic dates and 1/2 cup of dried organic prunes in a blender. Cover with 2 cups of boiling water and let sit until the water cools a bit and the fruit softens. Whirl on high until the mixture liquifies completely. There should be no bits of fruit in the mixture. Add more water as if necessary, scraping down the sides of the blender as you go.

When you’re finished, store syrup in a airtight container in the fridge.