You'll find a list of all my blog posts in the blog archive.

Lilac flowers.

Blog categories: 
Botanical name: 

I've always thought that lilacs are more or less toxic.

But a few weeks ago, somebody said on the forageahead list that they're edible.

Hmmm, thought I, and waited for our lilacs (Syringa vulgaris) to flower.

They're in flower now.

Photo: Syringa vulgaris 5. Pic: Lilac flowers. Trawling the net, I found a handful of recipes. Most all of them said to pick the single flowers out of the flowerheads, and to discard the green parts.
And most all of them said to pick very strongly scented flowers, just opened, and to cut them up coarsely.

So I did.

I found one recipe for a bread spread: put a tablespoon or two of chopped-up strongly scented de-greened lilac flowers into a few tablespoons of cream cheese (or sourcream), add a pinch of salt, serve on dark bread. This tastes of cream cheese (or sourcream) and salt. Add a few more tablespoons of chopped-up lilac flowers, and it starts to taste bitter-sour with a hint of perfume. Bleh.

I found a recipe for tea: pour 2 dl boiling water over a tablespoon of chopped-up flowers, let sit for a while, strain, serve. This tastes of nothing at all. Add more flowers and it gets bitterish-sour and floral. Bleh.

And I found a recipe for sorbet. I didn't bother making that, cos frozen sugarwater with a bitterish-sour floral taste doesn't sound all that appealing. That is, the idea isn't appealing enough to offset the certain tediousness of cleaning the ice cream machine after making sorbet (or ice cream).

I expect that the reason for there being so few lilac flower recipes out there is that "edible" doesn't equate to "tasty".

(OK, it might be that I just had bad luck: according to this NCSU horticultural information leaflet on edible flowers the flavor of lilac flowers varies "from no flavor to green and herbaceous to lilac".)

The flowers are pretty, though, and as they're really almost tasteless (in sane amounts) you can use them to decorate fruit salads, water jugs, and similar. And who knows, your lilac flowers might be tastier than those I picked.