Friday, June 10, 2011

Candied Lilac

A special report from Button Soup's Senior Backyard Correspondent, Lisa Zieminek

With Allan in Austria, I have been tasked with keeping him informed of what’s happening in our new yard, and documenting developments with copious photographs and notes.

A couple weeks ago, the several lilac trees scattered throughout our yard burst into full bloom, filling the air with sweet perfume.

Last year we learned that lilacs are edible.  The tiny flowers can be added to salads for a splash of color.  They can also be made into beautiful, delicate candies that last long after the blossoms have fallen from the trees and their sweet smell has left the air.  Rather than keeping the memories of spring with mere photographs, I decided to preserve a little piece of the season in candy form, to be enjoyed upon Allan’s return.

Candied Lilac

  • simple syrup (heat 2 parts sugar and 1 part water to 225°F, then cool to room temperature)
  • individual lilac flowers, stems removed
  • ultrafine sugar (sold as “berry sugar”)
  • patience – it's a tedious job

Using tweezers, dip the lilac flowers in the simple syrup, shake off any excess liquid, then place them onto the ultrafine sugar.  Turn the flowers in the sugar to coat all sides, or sprinkle them with sugar to achieve the same effect.  Let the flowers dry overnight, then store in an airtight container.

The candied petals look like delicate crystals – they are a beautiful garnish for cupcakes or ice cream.  They have a crunchy texture and a sweet, floral taste.  (They are flowers, after all...)

-Lisa Zieminek, Sr. Backyard Correspondent


  1. The candies lilacs look beautiful. I like the sugar crystals sparkling on the flowers. I find your sense of order fascinating. All those tiny flowers lined up like little soldiers. I probably would have just dumped all the flowers in the syrup, poured everything into a strainer, then dumped the flowers into a lunch bag with the sugar. shake gently to coat and voila sugar coated lilacs. Would they have just broken if you did it that way?

  2. I don't think that they would have broken . . . but I think they would have just been big sugar blobs - so they would have tasted the same, but not looked as dainty.

  3. LISA!
    take a look at my post on candied violets. I have been doing this for years with the flavourless but stunningly gorgeous Black Bowles violet that is prolific in our zone three climate... and I have lilacs about to bloom. I am over the moon about this idea. I would have never thought about doing this - why? It is so logical. I cannot wait. I use powdered egg white with a 00 paintbrush and water to adhere the superfine sugar to the petals. I think I will continue with what works for me.
    Thank you.

  4. Pretty darned cool. Laborious as all heck, but if you served me a candied lilac flower, I'd certainly be impressed.