Life is full of challenges, twists, and turns, and sometimes it is easy to forget about all the simple joys that make it beautiful and sweet. Then, nature comes to help...
Spring is so inspiring, so welcoming, so delightful... It never ceases to amaze me how almost imperceptibly the pink shades of cherry and apple blossoms are being replaced by the pretty purple-violet color of the lilac trees. It's like nature reminds us that there is always beauty and "good" if we choose to see it. Lilacs give softness to the world and to life. I love it, not only for its enchanting fragrance but mostly because of its delicacy and humbleness.
The story, according to Greek mythology, begins with a stunning nymph named Syringa (lilac's botanical name) who caught the eye of Pan, the god of fields and forests. Captivated by her beauty, Pan chased Syringa through the forest until she became exhausted. To escape Pan, the nymph turned herself into a fragrant flowering bush - the flower we today refer to as lilac.
I won't mention my childhood memories and that lilac is my mom favorite flower because, at the moment, I am fascinated by the fact that lilacs are not only delightful and aromatic, they are edible as well. In her beautiful and inviting book "Cooking with Flowers" Miche Bacher uncovers the wonderful world of edible common flowers as she offers easy and accessible recipes. It is true. There are lots of flowers we can eat - dandelions, pansies, and violas, roses, sunflowers, tulips, geraniums, daylilies - we just need to take a little time to learn about them and then, we will be surprised that they are all around us, practically during every season. (Be aware, not all flowers are edible, and some are poisonous.)
I am obsessed! The idea that I can cook with lilacs is totally inspiring to me. Knowing that lilacs do not last long, I took advantage of the blooming yard-grown unsprayed shrubs in the garden and using the classic vanilla cream recipe from my mom's journal, I made lilac-infused cream. I used lilac sugar, which is really simple to make, and for the milk, I put milk and lilac petals in a jar and refrigerated overnight.
Lilacs make a great sorbet, jam, jelly, muffins, syrup, candied lilacs... Cleaning and harvesting the tiny blossoms is time-consuming, but also enjoyable. The fresh, sweet and slightly bitter taste of the flower creates a very intriguing, beautiful and pleasant dish on every table.
They say you are what you eat, right? So, why not, be ... a lilac ... for a while?!

Lilac-Scented Sugar

Clean, dry lilac petals
Granulated sugar, as much as you wish to make
A Jar

Make layers with lilac flowers and sugar in the jar. Put on the lid, shake the jar, and place it on a shelf in a cool, dark place. Shake it every now and then over the next days. The sugar will be ready to use in 1-2 weeks. Perfect for baking, in a cup of tea or coffee, or simply as a gift.

Thank you!

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