How to Make Lilac-infused Honey
I love the profusion of flowers in our garden in April, but I rarely collect them to do anything with beyond a few sprigs to brighten up the kitchen table. I’d rather just enjoy them when I’m out in the yard and leave foraging them to the bees. My major exception is lilac. Its scent is so intoxicating that I leap at the chance to preserve it for later use, especially because the flowers are so fleeting in the Springtime. Infusing them into honey is also such an easy process that I make sure to at least do one jar, no matter how busy I am.
Honey is a natural preservative due to its low moisture content, acidity and other antibacterial properties. It’s even been found in Ancient Egyptian tombs, unspoiled and ready to eat (though it seems like actually doing so would be asking for bad luck). However, introducing a lot of water content to the honey will dilute it to the point that it can start to ferment, which is great if you want to make mead! But if that’s not your goal, dry off your fresh flowers as much as possible and don’t stuff your jar completely full of material to keep the introduction of moisture to a minimum. I’ve seen some sources claim that using fresh over dried flowers can lead to mold, but I have never had that be an issue.
To make a pint-sized jar of infused honey, you only need about 4-5 clusters of lilac flowers. Any color will do, just try to get ones that have opened recently as they will have more scent and nectar to flavor your honey than ones that are already fading. Cut or pluck the flowers off of the stems and press gently with a tea towel to get any moisture off of them, then place in a mason jar. Pour honey over the flowers to fill the jar. Some of the flowers will probably rise to the top, so I use a spoon or chopstick to press them back below the honey.
As the honey seeps into the lilac flowers, it will bubble and the lilacs will visibly shrink. I let mine sit at least a few days up to a couple weeks after which the flavor of the lilacs has thoroughly infused into the honey. At this point you can strain out the lilac flowers or leave them in depending on your preference. The honey will last many months in the pantry.
And there you have it! It really couldn’t be simpler, and this a technique that you can use for many flowers and herbs. Lavender, thyme and rosemary are all delicious variations.